Cloud computing? No!
Normal clouds that influence the weather then? Yes.
Why? Because they are out there. Sometimes.
And that’s reason enough to write about it? Yes.
The, mainly white, decks in the air are what we name clouds. Clouds have been on planet earth longer than life has. Not in the very early stages of our planet, because first it had to cool down. The practical use of clouds is more than just to see figures and animals in on a decently cloudy day.
The most important question from this blog could be “how do clouds form”? Luckily that is an easy question to anwer. It all starts with the sun. Because of the sun’s UV rays that reach Earth out planet get the climate we kind of like. Without the heath of the sun Earth’s surface would get quite cold (just about absolute zero). So, if the sun stops producing heat suddenly, get yourself a shovel and dig like your life depends on it.
Earths core produces heat too, but you need to be rather close to get a decent temperature.
Ok, now I’m drifting off. Back to clouds. No sun means no clouds. We have a sun and there is water, so we have clouds (made of water). The sun warms up our atmosphere, which results into two things.
- water evaporates into the air
- air rises
However, when air rises the temperature drops, the moist in the air cools down (obviously) and condenses into suspended droplets. And guess what that results in. Indeed, clouds!
But wait, there is more… (yes, there really is). Rain. Rain comes from clouds. If someone didn’t know that and is reading this now for the first time, go away and never return. I was just stating the obvious. Again.
The droplets that form the clouds grow bigger and bigger as more evaporated air rises and joins the cloud. Eventually they get so big that they become too heavy to stay up in the air and fall down. Depending on the circumstances they fall down as rain, snow or hail.
Now all clouds produce rain. Even without a degree in meteorology you can predict if clouds will product rain. Thanks to this nice picture of cloudstacking.com it can be visualised easily.
Three things because clear from the picture.
- There are several types of clouds
- Clouds ‘operate’ at different altitudes
- Not all clouds get you wet when being outside.
High clouds like cirro-stratus, cirrus and cirro-cumulus are at 20,000 feet (6,500) meters or higher.
Middle clouds, such asalto-stratus, alto-cumulus and strato-cumulus are at 6,500 – 20,000 feet (2,200 – 6,500 meters)
Low clouds are named, nimbo-stratus, cumulus or fog and have a lower altitude than 2,000 feet (2,200 meters)
Cumulo-nimbus is a nasty one and can be at all altitudes while produce rain., while nimbo-stratus produces rain too. Also, we see that clouds that produce rain are often darker than clouds which don’t.
So far for Earths clouds. Let’s take it extraterrestrial. Other plates have clouds too (stars don’t) and not necessary the friendly ones we have on Earth. Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system, has clouds too. The clouds on Jupiter are striped with dark belts and light zones. The climate isn’t nice. Not only is the temperature quite low (-234 degrees Fahrenheit or -148 degrees Celsius), but also are high winds and lightning often occurring on Jupiter. A cyclonic type storm that is active on Jupiter for at least 400 years is another reason that the climate isn’t that pleasant. Furthermore, Jupiters clouds are made of ammonia. Not really the liquid that makes plants grow or you want falling down on you.
Titan, the moon of Saturn has clouds too. These clouds are made of methane and ethane. Good to fuel up something, but the nicest stuff to have above your head.
So, clouds. Useful and happily only made out of water on our planet.