How do clouds form?

Clouds, rain, rivers, the sea- it all forms one big cycle called the ‘water cycle’.

clouds1Tiny droplets of sea water get warm and start to evaporate. Then, they rise up through the atmosphere. Asthey rise up they get cooler and they start to fuse to other droplets to form clouds. Just like when you boil a pan of water at home- some of the water evaporates from tclouds3he surface of the boiling water, then little clouds of steam form. The light from the sun comes into our atmosphere and hits the clouds of dense water droplets, then gets reflected.

watercyc1When the clouds are super dense and heavy (grey clouds) they don’t reflect much light (lazy clouds) and so they look really dark. There are different types of clouds with funny names like ‘cumulus’ and ‘mackerel’. Once I got my mum a book of cloud formations!
clouds2We even have a name for where the clouds form- the ‘condensation level’. That’s where the atmosphere can’t have droplets in it anymore, and they start to condense to clouds. The rain falls down from the clouds and make rivers to the sea.

 

Have you ever thought about rainbows? They form in droplets of rain too. When light hits the droplets at certain angles, it slows down because it spends so long wobbling the droplet around it travels a bit slower than usual. Slow light starts to bend. Then, the white light from the sun splits into all of the different colours it contains (red, yellow, blue…), and we see a rainbow. If you study physics you can learn more!

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