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8. Clouds.docx

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Environmental Science
Luc Bernier

ENVIR SCI 1A03 February 6, 2014 Clouds How do clouds develop? • Heated air parcel that contains moisture is more buoyant and starts to rise, and eventually reaches dew point where condensation takes place and cloud base forms. • When a topography forces air to rise • Frontal lifting – air mass that is warmer rises and will cool down adiabatically. Forced lifting triggers formation of clouds • Pockets of low pressure on ground – air that is rising is moist and will rise and cool adiabatically, rush of air fills void and lead to cloud formation. • Air parcel initially at stable atmosphere then unstable – gradually as it rises, condensation takes place and we will see saturation of air parcel o The more it is saturated, the lower the condensation level is lower  Air parcel doesn’t have to cool as much for the base of cloud to form Atmospheric Stability and Clouds • ELR influences cloud development • Little vertical development: cumulus humilis – cools faster than atmosphere o ELR is lower than DALR AND MALR o The air parcel is denser than the surrounding air and has no tendency to rise higher • Atmosphere is conditionally unstable – initially the moist air is cooling at a faster rate then at a slower rate and eventually the air parcel that is rising is more buoyant and keeps rising, all moisture content is gone and will reach the top of the cloud o ELR is fairly stable – temp of surrounding air is actually rising above 10km o Increase in temperature because the tropopause has been reached • Lifting condensation level (LCL) is the start of cloud formation • When all moisture is exhausted,
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