Breakdown: Why clouds are an essential part of our atmosphere

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 11:15 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Clouds have many impacts on our weather and climate. Clouds can block heat coming in and out of our atmosphere. Clouds can impact our temperatures. Clouds reflect about 20 percent of the incoming heat back into space according to research and clouds can absorb some of the incoming heat or solar radiation. Those clouds that are lower reflect the most amount of heat. This is the reason that temperatures are cooler on a cloudy or overcast day. On the flipside and more clouds at night will mean warmer temps because clouds are trapping the heat and not allowing it to escape. Clouds do absorb some of the heat as the ground cools in the evening and at nights. Clouds also take a portion and reradiate the heat back towards the Earth’s surface. High-level clouds typically absorb this outgoing heat.

Another important thing that clouds do are they help to move dust, bacteria and other particles throughout the earth. According to research, clouds move dust at a fast rate. If there is too much dust in the atmosphere, it can decrease the amount of rain that falls on an area. This is because when raindrops form by lots of nucleators or dust, these drops will be smaller and may not be heavy enough to fall. According to research if an area has more dust and less rain, this can contribute to a process know as desertification which is where a local climate slowly changes to desert and is one of the factors scientists believe is behind the landscape changes around central Africa.

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