the best science on the web about
clouds

An Intro to Clouds
Image: iStockphoto.com/JohannesK

An Intro to Clouds

They can be puffy and light or huge and dark, little wisps or floating mountains. They protect the Earth from overheating and spit out lightning. They sit on the ground and up where jets fly.

Learn to identify them and you'll be able to predict certain weather patterns. Welcome to the world of clouds.

Untamed Science
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Weird, Rare Clouds and the Physics Behind Them

Weird, Rare Clouds and the Physics Behind Them

Just so you don't call the police one day, screaming that you've seen a UFO, check out these weird clouds, especially the "lenticular" ones. More...

Article
WIRED
10 Basic Cloud Types

10 Basic Cloud Types

As a clue to this helpful cloud guide, "virga" are streaks of precipitation you may see under a cloud, which evaporate or sublimate before they hit the ground. More...

Images
National Weather Service
Capacitors

Capacitors

Energy-storing devices called capacitors make TV, radio, and much else possible. They also make lightning possible, because clouds are giant capacitors. More...

Article
ExplainThatStuff!
Cloud Match Game

Cloud Match Game

Test your memory and your knowledge of clouds with this game. There's also a lot of great, basic cloud info here. More...

Game
NASA
Cloud Mixing Means Extra Global Warming

Cloud Mixing Means Extra Global Warming

Will changes in cloud cover increase global warming? Here's a study that says so, though another on this page reaches the opposite conclusion. More...

Article
National Geographic
Cloud Types: Quiz

Cloud Types: Quiz

Can you tell a cirrostratus from an altocumulus? Give this quiz a try, but don't expect to beat the high score, listed as 100 percent in 0.4 seconds!!! (Seems impossible, doesn't it?) More...

Interactive
PurposeGames
Clouds and How They Form

Clouds and How They Form

Clouds form under lots of conditions, in lots of places, including where huge masses of warm and cold air meet. More...

Article
Center for Science Education
Clouds: The Wild Card of Climate Change

Clouds: The Wild Card of Climate Change

Some clouds speed up global warming, while others slow it down, as this animation and article explain. More...

Video
National Science Foundation
Earth’s Clouds Are Getting Lower, Which Could Be a Good Thing

Earth’s Clouds Are Getting Lower, Which Could Be a Good Thing

Average cloud height is decreasing, and this could mean that more heat will escape from Earth into space. More...

Article
Popular Science
Fog Chamber

Fog Chamber

You can make a cloud in a bottle using only a bottle (duh!), a rubber glove, matches, water, and an adult (since you're using matches). More...

Activity
Exploratorium
Hubble Telescope Reveals Super-Planets Covered in Alien Clouds

Hubble Telescope Reveals Super-Planets Covered in Alien Clouds

Pushing the Hubble telescope to its limit, astronomers have analyzed clouds around a planet 40 light years away. These clouds are quite different from the ones here on Earth. More...

Article
Space.com
New Cloud Type Discovered?

New Cloud Type Discovered?

If you see a "stormy ocean" above your head, you may be looking at the first new kind of cloud discovered in over 60 years. Be sure to click on all 4 photos of the "asperatus" cloud here. More...

Article
National Geographic
Send in the Clouds

Send in the Clouds

Without clouds, we might not exist. NASA scientists have been studying clouds all over the solar system so as to understand them better on Earth. More...

Article
NASA
What Are Clouds?

What Are Clouds?

This basic overview of clouds from NASA includes information about clouds on other planets. More...

Article
NASA
Why Are “Roll Clouds” So Rare?

Why Are “Roll Clouds” So Rare?

Several unusual things have to happen in the atmosphere before you'll see a roll cloud in real life. The one in this video may be hundreds of miles long.
More...

Video
National Geographic
Why Do Storm Clouds Have Flat Tops?

Why Do Storm Clouds Have Flat Tops?

Cumulonimbus, or storm clouds can extend from low in the sky to the height of commercial jets. Find out how these monsters form and why they flatten out on top. More...

Video
Naked Science

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