Atmospheric Moisture

Snowflakes with their sixsides are an expression of

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Unformatted text preview: re the right shape for ice crystals to develop on them. Snowflakes, with their sixsides, are an expression of this hexagonal crystal form of ice. Cloud types are based on location and shape. In terms of shape, they can be cirriform, or wispy clouds, stratiform, or layered clouds, or cumuliform, or clouds formed by rising air. High clouds are made of ice, not water, and are usually found above 6000 meters. These are mostly cirrus, which are thin and wispy cirriiform clouds. Cirrus clouds have very little water in them and do not produce precipitation. Middle clouds are mostly between 2000 and 6000 meters and here it is warm enough for liquid water. Stratus clouds are often in thick layers that can cover the whole sky. Altostratus are found at these heights. Stratus can also be low clouds, found under 2000 m. At any height, you may find cumuliform clouds, formed by rising air. Cumulus clouds are the puffy, cotton-ball types. If conditions are right, these generate thunderstorms. Nimbus is the term associated with rain, so cumulonimbus clouds are cumulus clouds producing rain and nimbostratus are stratus clouds producing rain. Precipitation Most water drops in clouds are small enough that they stay suspended in the air. They have to grow a lot in order to be heavy enough to fall. Drops may run into each other and coalesce into larger drops and this dominates rainfall in warm clouds of the Tropics and sometimes in the mid-latitudes. In colder clouds, though, snow forms by ice crystals gaining ice from the water vapor in the air Atmospheric Moisture:5 and by colliding with supersatura...
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