Clouds are white because their water droplets or ice crystals are large enough to scatter the light of the seven wavelengths (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet), which combine to produce white light. Why do clouds turn gray? Clouds are made up of tiny water droplets or ice crystals, usually a mixture of both.
Clouds are white because light from the Sun is white. As light passes through a cloud, it interacts with the water droplets, which are much bigger than the atmospheric particles that exist in the sky.
Some clouds are white and some are “black” due to two chief reasons: 2) viewpoint and/or background (contrast). Concerning optical thickness: it is a technical term that just means that a thicker cloud has more droplets of water for the light to scatter off of.
The blues are scattered and deflected, while the reds reach our eyes down on the ground. As a result, these red wavelengths colour the sky more deeply than the blue ones. The more white clouds there are, the better, as the light is reflected back to be made more intense and the clouds themselves are coloured pink.
These droplets scatter all colors almost equally, meaning that the sunlight continues to remain white. This is why clouds appear white against the background of a blue sky. These same principles apply to vapor-filled “clouds” created by contrails.
These are much tinier than the wavelength of light, so blue light scatters much more than red. So the sky is blue and sunsets are red. But clouds are white; they have no color at all, even if the water making them up has color. Clouds can appear white or gray. In fact, the same cloud can appear white to one person and gray to another.
How do you identify clouds?
A sub-sun spotted in diamond dust over Walnut Canyon, Arizona, US. Cumulonimbus with lightning over the Catatumbo River, Venezuela. Circumzenithal arc formed by Cirrus vertebratus, Yuma, Arizona, US.
Clouds are made up of tiny water droplets or ice crystals, usually a mixture of both. The water and ice scatter all light, making clouds appear white. If the clouds get thick enough or high enough all the light above does not make it through, hence the gray or dark look.
When warm air rises from the ground, it carries water vapor with it. When the water vapor meets the cold air found high in the sky, the gas condenses to liquid and forms cumulus clouds. While these fluffy-white clouds look like soft pillows of cotton, they are actually composed of small water droplets.
Why do clouds have different wavelengths of light?
Since light travels as waves of different lengths, each color has its very own unique wavelength. Clouds are white because their water droplets or ice crystals are large enough to scatter the light of the seven wavelengths (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet), which combine to produce white light.
What are the five major types of clouds?
High-level clouds ( 5 -13 km): cirrocumulus, cirrus, and cirrostratus. Mid-level clouds (2-7 km): altocumulus, altostratus, and nimbostratus. Low-level clouds (0-2 km): stratus, cumulus, cumulonimbus, and stratocumulus.
This of course begs the inquiry “What are the 10 basic cloud types?”
Cloud Descriptions There are ten basic clouds types (but dozens in detail): – Within the High Cloud Form: • Cirrus, cirrostratus, and cirrocumulus., and altocumulus.