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Why is the sky cloudy when it is cold?

Why is the sky cloudy when it is cold?
Morgan Gardner from Tyne and Wear (Age 5-14)


One Response

  1. If the atmosphere is cold then the amount of mositure is can hold is reduced. So for a given level of moisture in the air it is more likely to be cloudy when the air temperature is low because the mositure(H2O) stops being single molecules and forms small water droplets(cloud forming). So if we move a large lump of atmosphere from the tropics(warm location) to the UK(colder location) it will form more cloud.

    However, there are circumstances where dry air(low moisture content) will create low temperatures. This is because if there is no moisture in the air then with no cloud able to form, the temperature overnight will drop considerably. This is because the ground and atmosphere can lose heat by radiating to outer space and with no cloud to stop this radiation loss, the temperature can drop significantly overnight. In these conditions we also get a process called temperature inversion. What this means is that the air close to the ground is the coldest(cold air is more dense than warm air and therefore sinks to the ground). When that happens we get very low cloud or fog as we know it better as.

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