Clouds are made of water
What are clouds? Clouds are made of drops of water or ice. When the wind picks up water from the ocean or from the land on Earth, it can carry tiny drops of water up into the sky. These drops are too small for you to see.
The air is cooler far above the earth, because of how the wind pushes the air around.
Up in the sky, the tiny water drops cool down. Being cooler helps the drops to stick to other tiny particles in the air: dust, or sea salt, or ice. Little by little, the drops stick together to make larger drops. When they are as big as raindrops, gravity makes the raindrops fall to the ground as rain. If it’s cold enough, the raindrops freeze into crystals – that’s snow.
Why are some clouds white?
Because clouds reflect sunlight, a layer of clouds in the daytime can reflect sunlight away from the earth and keep us cooler. At night, clouds can hold the heat in like a warm blanket. Clouds keep the sun’s heat from drifting away from Earth into space.
Why are some clouds gray or black?
In a thick cloud, the water drops scatter the light in all directions instead of reflecting it. Then not all of the light reaches your eyes, so the cloud can look gray or black.
Fog is a cloud near the ground
Clouds can happen at any height above the ground, if the air is the right temperature. Sometimes clouds are actually touching the ground. We call that fog. If you go up to the top of a mountain or in an airplane, you will be above most of the clouds. After it rains, the clouds disappear, because the water they were made of has all come back down to Earth again.
The four kinds of clouds
On Earth, there are four main types of clouds:
Clouds on other planets
On other planets, there can be clouds made of other things than water. Venus is covered by thick clouds, but the clouds there are made of drops of sulphuric acid, chlorine, and fluorine, and would be poisonous to you. Jupiter has clouds made of ammonia. But Mars has clouds made of water, like our clouds.
So what are clouds?
What are clouds made of? Did you find out from this article? Let us know in the comments!