The cumulonimbus and the nimbostratus
We discussed the nimbostratus clouds in one of the previous lessons (the Darkest Layer).
However, one of the very dramatic clouds is the cumulonimbus cloud or the "heaps of rain" cloud.
This cloud has a lot of dark colors in the lower part of the cloud.
The top 2/3 of the cumulonimbus cloud has very densely packed heaps of white cumulus clouds.
It is as if a giant standing on the earth was inserting an air pump into the bottom of the cloud.
And inflating the cloud with air.
The cumulonimbus cloud is a super-sized cumulus and nimbostratus clouds put together, spanning from the lower levels of the Troposphere to its highest levels.
It is the cumulonimbus cloud that is responsible for severe weather such as thunderstorms, torrential rain, hailstorms, and tornadoes.
Why do we have hail?
Does seeing clouds as different combinations of freezing and amounts of liquid water droplets help you see how hail forms?
Take a cumulus cloud with a large amount of microscopic liquid water droplets and lots of air. Suppose a cold updraft pushes up into the cloud.
The pressure from the updraft forces a large amount of the liquid droplets upwards as well as air. The liquid droplets freeze against each other in the much colder higher altitudes.
The high pressure from the cold wind pushes each frozen ice bundle together, compacting and enlarging them as they bounce around in the cold up-reaches of the cloud.
When those compact ice bundles get heavy enough, they fall as hail.