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Why Do Clouds Have Flat Bottoms?

Clouds are formed by air that has risen from the surface and cooled to a point where water vapor can condense. The water vapor then forms droplets and joins together to become clouds.

Clouds can be divided into two main types: low and high. Low-level clouds are generally less than 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) above the Earth’s surface, while high-level clouds are generally found above 18,000 feet (5,500 meters).

Low-level clouds are formed at a height of around 1,600 feet (500 meters) above the ground or sea level. These clouds usually form when warm air rises and cools quickly to produce a cloud layer. They are usually found in mountainous regions and other areas where winds blow strongly.

High-level clouds form when air is forced to rise above the tropopause, which is the top of the troposphere — an area where temperature decreases with height. When this happens, water vapor condenses in tiny droplets that form a cloud layer called cirrus (Latin for “fibers”). Cirrus clouds look like thin strands or streamers that often form near the sun or moon and appear white because they reflect sunlight back into space.

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Last modified: November 20, 2022

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