Why are there different kinds of clouds?


You may have looked up to the sky and wondered why a certain cloud looks like cotton candy, or a bird, or a face, or the state you live in, or anything really! Clouds take on a lot of shapes and they change as they roll across the sky. No two clouds are the same!

They get their shapes from the air that's around them. Clouds are made up of millions of tiny pieces of water. Very high in the sky, the air is very cold. The water actually freezes into floating ice crystals. We see these clouds as wispy strands way up in the sky!

When it's not cold enough for water to freeze, the water collects in a very wet form, like fog! These very wet clouds are the fluffy clouds we see lower in the sky in both fair and stormy weather. They also can be the stretched out flat clouds that cover the sky like a blanket.

The air is always changing! It's cooler in some parts and warmer in others. Temperature can affect how close the droplets of water get to each other. Air can be calm, but it can also be very windy! Wind is always pushing and pulling clouds, squeezing and stretching them in different directions. It can make clouds take on some pretty cool shapes!

So, if you're wondering who made that fluffy white bunny hopping across the sky, it's the air that's pushing it (and your imagination!)


Predicting the Weather!

You don't have to be a meteorologist to know a storm is coming. You can just look at the clouds!

The types of clouds that cause rain are usually pretty easy to spot. They're big and dark gray on the bottom. These clouds are so full of water that light from the Sun can't even make it through them!

There's only so much water a cloud can hold. When a cloud starts to turn dark gray, it's a sign that it's going to let go of its water. It's going to rain!

If you see these clouds approaching, you might want to grab a raincoat or an umbrella! Of course, it might just be best to stay inside, especially if there's thunder and lightning.

What kinds of clouds are in the sky right now?