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How Do Clouds Form

Clouds are a collection of water drops or ice crystals that have been deposited on particles like dust, smoke, pollen, etc. in the atmosphere. They are a part of the water cycle.

How Are Clouds Formed

Clouds are formed by the condensation of water vapor in the air into water droplets.

Height at Which a Cloud Forms

At any latitude, clouds may form as low as 6,500 ft above the surface. However, near the poles, they may be formed at high altitudes of 13,000 ft. At mid-latitudes they graze the 23,000 ft mark that turns into 25,000 ft at the tropics.


1. How do clouds form by convergence?

Winds converge towards the center of low-pressure areas due to friction. The air not being able to go down rises up to form clouds and eventual precipitation. This is precisely the reason why clouds formed are fewer in high-pressure zones since instead of converging and moving up, the air moves down. The absence of vertical motion prevents the formation of clouds.

2. How do clouds form in a hurricane?

Clouds formed in a hurricane follow the principle of convergence. Hurricanes form only over warm oceans near the equator. Warm, moist air over the water is uplifted leaving an area of low pressure below. Air from the surrounding high-pressure area rushes in, becomes warm and humid and rises. During this process, the surrounding air spins in to occupy its place forming a hurricane. As the rising air cools off, it forms clouds. The entire cloud system swirls and grows fed by the ocean’s moisture and heat.

3. Can clouds form at night?

Clouds can form over land even at night. It is because condensation occurs all the time and whenever air cools below dew point, the condition for cloud creation is met.

4. What is/are the condition(s) for green clouds to form?

When a cloud is very deep, the light reflected from the land and green vegetation sometimes leads to its green color.  It signals the presence of a tornado,thunderstorms and large hail.

5. When are grey clouds formed?

Clouds are usually white as the water droplets in them scatter all the 7 colors in sunlight. They become grey when the water droplets become excessively large and heavy. Hence, instead of scattering light, the denser and heavier clouds absorb light resulting in their dark color. They indicate rough weather.

Article was last reviewed on Thursday, August 16, 2018

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