Phenomena

Cloud Formation

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Clouds are so ubiquitous here on Earth that it’s easy to take them for granted. But there’s remarkable complexity in the mechanics of their formation. This great video from Minute Earth steps through the processes of evaporation and condensation that drive basic cloud formation. After evaporation, buoyancy lifts warm, moist air upward. That warm air expands and cools until it reaches an altitude where water droplets can condense onto dust particles in the atmosphere. These droplets form the wispy cloud we see. Turbulence mixes these droplets and helps them collide and grow. Interestingly, although we understand the basic process of cloud formation, relatively little is understood about the details, and the subject is still very much an area of active research. (Video credit: Minute Earth; via io9)

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