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Q & A: Does the type of cloud have an effect on the weather?

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Most recent answer: 02/10/2011
Q:
Does the type of cloud have an effect on the weather?
- Malia (age 13)
Las Vegas, Nevada
A:
Hi Malia,

Yes, they are closely related. In fact, this is kind of a chicken-or-egg question. The type of cloud is a presentation of the weather, and the formation of the cloud will influence the weather. For example, cirrus clouds are usually seen in calm weather. They are thin clouds at very high altitude which do not rain. On the other hand, cumulonimbus clouds (picture below) usually bring thundershowers in summer afternoons. Once it started to rain, it would gradually reduce the updraft so the rain does not last long. This is an example of how clouds affect the weather.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Observing the type of cloud helps us understand the weather and predict how it will evolve. The type of cloud is by no means the only factor that affects the weather. Thanks to the modern technology, more accurate weather forecast can be made by taking factors such as pressure and landscape into account.

- Tsung

(published on 02/10/2011)

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