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Process of cloud formation and the different cloud types


Date Posted: 3/25/2018 6:06:49 AM

Posted By: franco crick  Membership Level: Gold  Total Points: 2067

Clouds are defined in a simple way as the water droplets that occur in either solid form as ice or in liquid form. Clouds are formed through a given process as described below:

-The process of clouds formation begins during the process of transformation of water vapor or gas phase into liquid phase a process referred to as condensation.

-The initial stage is mainly evaporation. As evaporation occurs water vapor is lost into atmosphere. This results to cooling of the earth’s surface. This is because warm air rises by being pushed aloft replacing cold air which later comes on earth and get heated up again resulting to the air being pushed again into the atmosphere.

-This brings about a cycle of wind or air currents within the atmosphere. When the warm air reaches the atmospheric region presence of aerosols and other small particles such as ice crystals acts as condensation nuclei. These condensation nuclei provides a surface where the small water droplets attaches around the aerosols or other particle acting as nuclei thus forming many large collection water droplets.

-As the small water droplets continues attaching to the condensation nuclei they may coalesce with each other releasing latent heat of vaporization bringing about cool, warm or cold clouds within different regions across the globe. The cloud droplets continues growing into larger cloud droplets mainly through three processes of growth which include; growth by condensation, growth in warm, cool and cold clouds, growth by collision and coalescence, through the Bergeron process and also through riming and aggregation.

-Growth by condensation occurs as described above but it generates precipitation insufficiently as compared to the other two processes of cloud formation.

-Cloud formation by collision and coalescence begins by a collector drop colliding with other small droplets or other fairly large cloud droplets where small cloud droplets are

pushed aside leading to being bounced into apart thus resulting in coalescence on the other side. Coalescence is more efficient where there is more collision occurring.

-The Bergeron process occurs when the saturation of vapor pressure is mainly less than that of super cooled water and the water vapor. At this time there is increased existence which leads to water sublimating directly into ice form. The ice continues growing rapidly to the expense of super cooled water cloud droplets. This causes the aggregation and riming of the falling crystals producing graupel, hail and other cloud particles.

-Later, the cooled clouds are formed and they experiences temperature above 00c throughout the year while the cold clouds formed experiences temperature of below 0 degrees celcius.Since clouds form in presence of condensation nuclei, where there is no nuclei the ice melts between 0 degrees celcius and -40 degrees celcius leading to super cooled water.

-The clouds continue to the growth stages until they attain a size to become rain droplets. All these processes results in formation of clouds with water droplets whose terminal velocity is high thus bring rain clouds or other types of clouds. The resulting main clouds types may either be as explained below:
a) Cirrus -They are referred to as high clouds.
-They are often in ice crystals
-They are thin and wispy.
-They are high altitude clouds.
b) Stratus -They have uniform horizontal layers.
-They often occur as droplets.
-They are classified as low clouds.
C) Cumulus -They occur as often water droplets.
-They are isolated and puffy.
-They are classified as fairly low clouds.
d) Nimbus -They are low clouds.
-They are referred to as rain producing clouds.
-They occur as either crystals or droplets.

- The other resulting clouds may be classified as: high clouds such as cirrostratus and cirrocumulus, Middle clouds such as altostratus and altocumulus, low clouds such as stratocumulus and nimbocumulus and lastly as clouds with extensive vertical development such as cumulonimbus.

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