Six Clouds You Should Know About – And What They Can Reveal About The Weather



By  in The Conversation.


Modern weather forecasts rely on complex computer simulators. These simulators use all the physics equations that describe the atmosphere, including the movement of air, the sun’s warmth, and the formation of clouds and rain.

Incremental improvements in forecasts over time mean that modern five-day weather forecasts are as skilful as three-day forecasts were 20 years ago.

But you don’t need a supercomputer to predict how the weather above your head is likely to change over the next few hours – this has been known across cultures for millennia. By keeping an eye on the skies above you, and knowing a little about how clouds form, you can predict whether rain is on the way.

And moreover, a little understanding of the physics behind cloud formation highlights the complexity of the atmosphere, and sheds some light on why predicting the weather beyond a few days is such a challenging problem.


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