Cloud formation

Making clouds

What are some other things that help create clouds?

Form a front

You probably know about warm and cold fronts from the weather segment on the nightly news. When a blast of cold air meets a parcel of warmer air, the warm air always ends on top because it's less dense.

Warm meets cold

Warm fronts loft over the cold air they encounter, forcing water vapor into the sky and making thin wispy clouds that form large sheets (like cirrus, cirrostratus, altostratus, and nimbostratus clouds). Think gray, "I can't see the sun" kind of days.

Cold meets warm

Cold fronts dig into warmer air, forming a sharp boundary. The warm air that rises causes more vertical shaped clouds (like cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds). Think "puffy" and "whoa, look at that thunderhead moving in."

See a nice animation of different fronts meeting.

An uniformly grey sky covered in altotratus clouds.Altostratus clouds

Courtesy PiccoloNameki.

A group of clouds form along the base of a mountain.Cumulus clouds

Courtesy Photofm.