Putting It All Together
We can put all of the processes from this lesson together to look at the lifecycle of a cloud:
The following is a description of convection’s stages of development:
- Local perturbation in atmospheric density fields, sometimes driven by uneven surface heating or moisture evaporation, starts relative vertical motion
- Stage 1: “Developing Stage” (also called Cumulus Stage)
- Updraft dominates center of cloud, cloud drops form and grow
- Release of latent heat provides the energy for vertical motion and growth
- Stage 2: “Mature Stage”
- Downdrafts form in addition to updrafts, causing gust fronts
- Cloud reaches height so that freezing occurs and precipitation develops
- Evaporation of precipitation drives downdrafts
- Stage 3: “Dissipating Stage”
- Downdrafts only
- Water mass is removed by sedimentation/evaporation
The video below (2 min.) includes some great time-lapse video of clouds forming and disappearing. Check it out:
Quiz 5-4: How precipitation forms.
- You can take Practice Quiz 5-4 as many times as you like.
- When you feel you are ready, take Quiz 5-4. You will be allowed to take this quiz only once. Good luck!