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The dryness of the lower level is such that parcels of air need to rise up to two miles 3 km , and sometimes more, before the they cool to the point of condensation. Since the jet stream follows the sun, it shifts toward the equator as winter progresses.

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Therefore, the polar region expands and the temperate region moves toward the equator. In summer, the Tropical Region expands shifting the temperate region toward the poles while the polar region shrinks. Please Contact Us. The Four Core Types of Clouds While clouds appear in infinite shapes and sizes they fall into some basic forms. Cirro-form The Latin word 'cirro' means curl of hair. Composed of ice crystals, cirro-form clouds are whitish and hair-like. There are the high, wispy clouds to first appear in advance of a low-pressure area such as a mid-latitude storm system or a tropical system such as a hurricane.

Cumulo-form Generally detached clouds, they look like white fluffy cotton balls. Bangalore , India. Late-summer rainstorm in Denmark. Nearly black color of base indicates main cloud in foreground probably cumulonimbus. Particles in the atmosphere and the sun 's angle enhance colors of stratocumulus cumulogenitus at evening twilight. Tropospheric clouds exert numerous influences on Earth's troposphere and climate. First and foremost, they are the source of precipitation, thereby greatly influencing the distribution and amount of precipitation.

Because of their differential buoyancy relative to surrounding cloud-free air, clouds can be associated with vertical motions of the air that may be convective, frontal, or cyclonic. The motion is upward if the clouds are less dense because condensation of water vapor releases heat, warming the air and thereby decreasing its density. This can lead to downward motion because lifting of the air results in cooling that increases its density.

All of these effects are subtly dependent on the vertical temperature and moisture structure of the atmosphere and result in major redistribution of heat that affect the Earth's climate. The complexity and diversity of clouds in the troposphere is a major reason for difficulty in quantifying the effects of clouds on climate and climate change.

On the one hand, white cloud tops promote cooling of Earth's surface by reflecting shortwave radiation visible and near infrared from the sun, diminishing the amount of solar radiation that is absorbed at the surface, enhancing the Earth's albedo. Most of the sunlight that reaches the ground is absorbed, warming the surface, which emits radiation upward at longer, infrared, wavelengths. At these wavelengths, however, water in the clouds acts as an efficient absorber.

The water reacts by radiating, also in the infrared, both upward and downward, and the downward longwave radiation results in increased warming at the surface. This is analogous to the greenhouse effect of greenhouse gases and water vapor. High-level genus-types particularly show this duality with both short-wave albedo cooling and long-wave greenhouse warming effects. On the whole, ice-crystal clouds in the upper troposphere cirrus tend to favor net warming.

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As difficult as it is to evaluate the influences of current clouds on current climate, it is even more problematic to predict changes in cloud patterns and properties in a future, warmer climate, and the resultant cloud influences on future climate. In a warmer climate more water would enter the atmosphere by evaporation at the surface; as clouds are formed from water vapor, cloudiness would be expected to increase. But in a warmer climate, higher temperatures would tend to evaporate clouds. Broadly speaking, if clouds, especially low clouds, increase in a warmer climate, the resultant cooling effect leads to a negative feedback in climate response to increased greenhouse gases.

But if low clouds decrease, or if high clouds increase, the feedback is positive. Differing amounts of these feedbacks are the principal reason for differences in climate sensitivities of current global climate models. As a consequence, much research has focused on the response of low and vertical clouds to a changing climate. Leading global models produce quite different results, however, with some showing increasing low clouds and others showing decreases. Polar stratospheric clouds PSC's form in the lowest part of the stratosphere during the winter , at the altitude and during the season that produces the coldest temperatures and therefore the best chances of triggering condensation caused by adiabatic cooling.

Moisture is scarce in the stratosphere, so nacreous and non-nacreous cloud at this altitude range is restricted to polar regions in the winter where the air is coldest. Supercooled nitric acid and water PSC's, sometimes known as type 1, typically have a stratiform appearance resembling cirrostratus or haze, but because they are not frozen into crystals, do not show the pastel colours of the nacreous types.

This type of PSC has been identified as a cause of ozone depletion in the stratosphere. These are sometimes known as type 2. They are given the Latin name noctilucent because of their illumination well after sunset and before sunrise. They typically have a bluish or silvery white coloration that can resemble brightly illuminated cirrus. Noctilucent clouds may occasionally take on more of a red or orange hue. Noctilucent clouds are the highest in the atmosphere and form near the top of the mesosphere at about ten times the altitude of tropospheric high clouds. Ongoing research indicates that convective lift in the mesosphere is strong enough during the polar summer to cause adiabatic cooling of small amount of water vapour to the point of saturation.

This tends to produce the coldest temperatures in the entire atmosphere just below the mesopause. These conditions result in the best environment for the formation of polar mesospheric clouds.

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Distribution in the mesosphere is similar to the stratosphere except at much higher altitudes. Because of the need for maximum cooling of the water vapor to produce noctilucent clouds, their distribution tends to be restricted to polar regions of Earth. A major seasonal difference is that convective lift from below the mesosphere pushes very scarce water vapor to higher colder altitudes required for cloud formation during the respective summer seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Sightings are rare more than 45 degrees south of the north pole or north of the south pole. Cloud cover has been seen on most other planets in the solar system. Venus 's thick clouds are composed of sulfur dioxide due to volcanic activity and appear to be almost entirely stratiform.

No embedded cumuliform types have been identified, but broken stratocumuliform wave formations are sometimes seen in the top layer that reveal more continuous layer clouds underneath. Both Jupiter and Saturn have an outer cirriform cloud deck composed of ammonia, [] [] an intermediate stratiform haze-cloud layer made of ammonium hydrosulfide , and an inner deck of cumulus water clouds.

Some planets outside the solar system are known to have atmospheric clouds. In October , the detection of high altitude optically thick clouds in the atmosphere of exoplanet Kepler-7b was announced, [] [] and, in December , in the atmospheres of GJ b and GJ b. Clouds play an important role in various cultures and religious traditions. The ancient Akkadians believed that the clouds were the breasts of the sky goddess Antu [] and that rain was milk from her breasts.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 26 June Visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals suspended in the atmosphere.


For other uses, see Cloud disambiguation. Calendar seasons. Winter Spring Summer Autumn. Tropical seasons. Dry season Harmattan Wet season. Meteorology Climate change Tornado terms Tropical cyclone terms. Play media.

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Main article: Timeline of meteorology. Main article: Cloud physics. For a comprehensive listing of over 90 combinations of genera divided into species and subdivided into varieties with Latin etymologies, see List of cloud types. See also: Atmospheric convection. See also: Weather map and Station model. See also: List of cloud types.

Main article: Karman vortex street. Main articles: Intertropical convergence zone , Extratropical cyclone , Cold front , and Warm front. Main articles: Subtropical ridge and Polar high. Stratocumulus stratiformis and small castellanus made orange by the sun rising. For Global brightening, see Global dimming. See also: Extraterrestrial atmospheres. Weather portal. National Weather Service. Retrieved 21 June Online Etymology Dictionary.

Retrieved 13 November The Free Dictionary. Colorado State University. Retrieved 30 November Retrieved 6 December Retrieved 31 July Archived from the original PDF on 25 February Retrieved 2 January Retrieved 18 November Archived from the original on 2 May Retrieved 19 March Retrieved 20 March Weather Online.

Retrieved 21 November Grenci; Jon M. Nese Journal of Geophysical Research. Bibcode : JGRD.. June Retrieved 9 November American Meteorological Society.

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Archived from the original on 12 May Retrieved 27 December University of California in Los Angeles. Retrieved 7 February Meteorology at the Millennium. Academic Press.

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Several side discussions tackled the v3. Key scientific characteristics of the datasets are summarized in Stengel et al. The data can be accessed via the DOI pages or by clicking here. Request new password.

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