Why are clouds in the sky?

Have you ever wished you could fly and touch the clouds? They look fluffy from down here, but are they really? 

Let’s find out what they’re made of — and how exactly they get up there.

What are clouds made of?


Clouds are made of water drops and tiny bits of dust.

That’s why rain leaves stains.

It’s from the dust in the water drops!

How do clouds form? 

1) The heat from the sun turns the water all around us into vapor 

That’s how you get dry after jumping in the pool, even without a towel — the water evaporates. 

And there’s water in almost everything: the grass, the trees, the ground…

2) The vapor gathers around dust particles

When the tiny water drops float away as vapor, they bond with bits of dust in the air. 

That’s the beginning of a cloud!

Then, cool air wraps around them, like an invisible balloon.  The more vapor fills the cool air balloon, the more it rises. 

“Wait, if water and dust add weight, how can the balloon rise more?” 

Good question! You see…warm, humid air is lighter than dry air. That makes the balloon float above the dense air around it, the same way oil floats on water.

3) The balloon gets high up in the sky, where the air pressure is lighter 

With less air pressure, the balloon spreads and cools down. When it gets cold enough, the vapor inside turns into small water drops again. 

This big balloon of cold water is what looks like clouds from where we stand.

Why are clouds important?

Clouds wrap the earth like a blanket to protect it from too much sunheat. At the same time, they hold down some of that heat to keep the earth warm enough. 

Clouds also help the water in our planet travel around — for plants, animals, and people to live. 


You can touch clouds!

Guess what? You might have even walked on them already. If you’ve ever been outside on a foggy day…you’ve touched a cloud. 

Fog is the same as the clouds up in the sky, only you can see them on the ground. This happens when there’s so much moisture in the air that vapor cools before it has a chance to rise. 

Ever noticed the sky is clear on most foggy mornings and evenings? All the clouds are by your feet!

Fog also feels just like it would to touch a cloud. Not really much, huh? Just a little wet.

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