In meteorology, a cloud is usually an aerosol composed mainly of water, minerals, or various small particles suspended in the air of a planet or space. The drops or crystals may also consist of organic substances such as ice or carbon dioxide. Though clouds are formed at different altitudes and can vary in their mass and weight, they generally result from the deposition of clouds above a body of water. Sometimes, clouds are also formed near landmasses, due to the heating of the land above the clouds. The total amount of cloud present in any sky is termed the cloud height.
Clouds are formed over many areas on Earth. They are seen at airports, on highways, in the forests, and also on mountain tops. They are also known for forming behind storms. They form and move in the same way as rain drops and can change the sky's temperature at times. Similarly, they have the capacity to affect weather in a certain way and help or hinder a weather forecast.
Cloud types are classified according to the density and surface composition of the clouds. Low-lying cirrus clouds are found over oceans, while convective clouds are found over landmasses. When these cloud types reach a particular altitude, the cloud becomes unstable and descends to the ground. It may still be higher up in the sky than the earth, hence the name "sky cloud." On the other hand, tropical storm cells are a form of low-pressure cirrus clouds that typically form in thunderstorms.
The lowest layer of clouds is called the stratum cloud and it is the easiest to determine the condition of clouds by looking at the bottom of clouds. The stratum cloud is always lighter colored than the lighter clouds. Similarly, the higher cloud layers are known as cumulus clouds, and the lowest layer is known as the stratosphere. A layer of about two to six miles of cirrus or low clouds is called the mesosphere.
A low cloud is any cloud with less water vapor than it needs to become cloud-free. This means that clouds are foggy. If clouds are foggy, they usually have more water vapor than they need to become totally clear. This can be very hazardous because small amounts of fog can quickly turn into large amounts of heavy rain.
High clouds are made of more water vapor than their lower altitudes. These clouds have colder temperatures and move slower than clouds from lower areas. The temperature of a cloud can change rapidly because of its altitude and location. This is why scientists pay very close attention to clouds because climate change is possible even under relatively calm conditions. The highest clouds are known as lenticular clouds. They are formed when air masses rise to the top of the atmosphere.