Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why are there clouds in the sky?” you ask? Seriously? Are we doing someone’s homework here or maybe you just forgot what you learned in school, which is it? (Still, it does help us avoid those personal questions about private parts.)
Actually if you’ve ever been somewhere where it is really dry you might have noticed there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. But before we get into that, let’s review just what clouds really are first.
According to the Weather Whiz Kids, clouds are large collections of “very tiny droplets of water or ice crystals. The droplets are so small and light that they can float in the air.”
But why are there clouds actually in the sky? As MetOffice confirms, there are clouds in the sky because the air where you see the clouds “is saturated and can’t hold any more water vapor.” Anywhere there is water vapor in the air, clouds can form when the invisible water vapor in the air condense into water droplets or ice crystals.
There are essentially two reasons why the air would become saturated and unable to hold any more water vapor.
“1. The amount of water in the air has increased – for example through evaporation – to the point that the air cannot hold any more water.
2. The air is cooled to its dew point – the point where condensation occurs – and the air is unable to hold any more water.”
There are clouds in the sky because of condensation. MetOffice notes that “as the air rises, it will cool and reducing the temperature of the air decreases its ability to hold water vapor so that condensation occurs. The height at which dew point is reached and clouds form is called the condensation level.”
(How clouds can form, of course, is an entirely different article.)
Why are there clouds in the sky? Now you know.
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