CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A cloud is defined as a mass of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. Fog is a cloud close to the ground. Fog is defined as a visible moisture that begins at a height lower than 50 feet. If the visible moisture begins at or above 50 feet, it is called a cloud.
Clouds form during condensation which is the process of changing gas into a liquid.
When water vapor is cooled to it's saturation point, it turns into a liquid, or condenses onto a surface.
There are two main ingredients needed to make clouds- water and dust. The water vapor content of the atmosphere varies from near zero to about 4 percent, depending on the moisture on the surface beneath and the air temperature.
When water vapor in the atmosphere is cooled to it's saturation point, it turns to liquid. But for droplets to form, there must be dust in the air, or condensation nuclei. Without it, there would likely be no clouds at all. Dust is needed for condensation nuclei, on which water vapor may condense or deposit as a liquid or solid. Certain types and shapes of dust and salt particles, such as sea salts and clay, make the best condensation nuclei.
With proper quantities of water vapor and dust, the next step is for the air to be cooled to a temperature at which cloud droplets or ice crystals can form.
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