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The Classifications Of Clouds Essay

896 words - 4 pages

There is a difference between cumuliform and stratiform clouds. All clouds are classified according to their altitude and their shape. Stratiform clouds form in layers and their air movement is mainly horizontal. If air movement is generally vertical, clouds grow upward and are cumuliform clouds. Stratiform and cumuliform clouds that appear at altitudes between 2000 and 7000 meters are called altostratus and altocumulus clouds. When they are above 7000 meters, they are called cirrostratus and cirrocumulus clouds. Cirrostratus clouds may indicate rain or snow. Nimbostratus and stratocumulus clouds are found below 2,000 meters. The former produce steady rain, while the latter are puffy clouds that cover the entire sky. Cumulonimbus clouds are associated with thunder, lightning, rain, and hail and are very tall. After all, the prefix “cumulo” describes clouds that grow upward.

2. The moist-adiabatic lapse rate is lower than the dry-adiabatic lapse rate. The adiabatic lapse rate describes the rate at which air cools as it rises. The dry-adiabatic lapse rate is when the cooling is caused merely by the air’s expanding. The air’s expanding is due to being surrounded by regions of lower pressure. The rate unsaturated air cools is 10°C for every kilometer it rises. The moist-adiabatic lapse rate is the rate at which saturated air cools as it rises. This rate differs from approximately 5°C per kilometer to about 9°C per kilometer. Heat is released when water vapor condenses. Air rising in a cloud fails to cool as fast as rising dry air does due to the condensing water vapor releasing heat into the air. Thus, the dry-adiabatic lapse rate is greater than the moist-adiabatic lapse rate.

3. The formation processes of cumulonimbus and stratus clouds are both similar and different. Cumulonimbus clouds start forming when moist air rises and cools to its dew point. Even though the air cools as it rises, it still is less dense and warmer than the air outside the cloud. Thus, it continues to rise. If a cumuliform cloud receives constant supply of moist air, it will develop until it enters a layer of stable air. Air is thought to be stable when the temperature of air rising inside of a cloud declines more rapidly than the temperature outside a cloud. The air spreads to the side when the temperature and density both inside and outside of the cloud reach equilibrium. Stratiform clouds form in stable air where air cannot easily move up or down. As a result, it tends to spread out horizontally in layers when the air is forced to rise to...

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