How do clouds affect weather?

During the day, clouds can make the temperature on Earth cooler by blocking heat from the sun. At night, clouds can make Earth’s temperature warmer by trapping heat that came from the sun. (NASA/JPL-Caltech) The altitude of the clouds is also important to consider.

Clouds affect climate in two major ways. First, they are an essential part of the water cycle. Clouds provide an important link between the rain and snow, oceans and lakes, and plants and animals. Clouds are an important part of the water cycle here on Earth.

While we were reading we ran into the question “How do clouds cause different weather?”.

The answer is that cumulus clouds are probably the most well-known of the cloud types. If updrafts become stronger, those seemingly innocuous cumulus clouds may grow taller into what we call cumulonimbus clouds. Contrails, stratus, cirrus, mammatus, or lenticular in addition are a few extra items to examine.

Look at the shape of the clouds. The types of clouds in the sky can tell you a lot about the weather. In general, clouds that are white and high indicate good weather, and clouds that are dark and low mean rain or storms are on the way. White, wispy clouds usually mean that the weather will be clear.

How do clouds affect climate?

The effect of clouds on surface temperature is the net effect of three things:

Their reflecting sunlight from their top side,
Their greenhouse effect of absorbing and reradiating downward the thermal radiation of the Earth’s surface,
Their reflecting back down the thermal radiation from Earth’s surface.

Clouds play a vital role in our climate by regulating the amount of solar energy that reaches the surface and the amount of the Earth’s energy that is radiated back into space. The more energy that is trapped by the planet, the warmer our climate will grow. If less energy is collected, the climate will become cooler.

When it comes to warming, clouds acts in three ways. They act like silvery shields reflecting away incoming sunlight; they act like insulators trapping heat on the planet (recall how much cooler it gets on a cloudless night); and they act like radiators sending heat out into space.

Clouds are vehicles for energy. They carry solar energy from the warm tropics to other parts of the globe through weather systems. But they also act as gatekeepers between Earth and space, helping regulate the global temperature by capturing and releasing infrared (thermal) energy in the atmosphere.

How to forecast the weather using clouds?

Learn to identify the difference between cumulus and stratus clouds at low, medium, and high levels of altitude. Practice watching sequences of cloud changes associated with Nimbostratus storms vs Cumulonimbus storms. Keep a cloud and weather journal and track sequences of clouds while testing your accuracy at all times of the year., and more items.

How to predict the weather by types of clouds?

Some more ideas to think about: altocumulus clouds: warm with a risk of storms, altostratus clouds: expect light rain, stratus clouds: fog, sources, cumulonimbus clouds: severe storms, nimbostratus clouds: rain, rain go away! And cirrostratus clouds: moisture moving in.

How do rain shadows affect your climate?

When high terrain and climate interact, a rain shadow always seems to affect a region. The earth has regular movements of “prevailing winds” that go around the equator. These winds are called the “trade winds”, and are located at 30° North and 30° South latitudes.