Why are Clouds Grey?

imageWe’ve found out about clouds and why clouds are white in earlier posts.  I anticipated what the next question would be – mixing paint does not make white – ha, wrong or at least not the first question asked.
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Why are Clouds White?

White clouds against a beautiful blue sky
White clouds against a beautiful blue sky

Kam loves clouds and the skies.

“Mum, yes Kam”
“Why are clouds in the sky”
“Well, they bring rain.”
“No, not the grey clouds, the white ones, they look like stars, but very close.”
“White clouds are full of water droplets, the same as grey rain clouds.”
“They can’t be, water is clear and you can see through it. The white clouds are white, not clear.  Why are clouds white?”
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What are Clouds?

Kam’s cloud question is about their colour. He wants to know why clouds are white.  So, I thought it’s probably wise to find out about what clouds are, before we look at why they are white.

How Clouds Form

Water vapour and salt particles
Water vapour condensing on Ocean salt particles:NASA

Clouds form when water vapour in the air condenses into water droplets or ice crystals.

The atmosphere contains microscopic (tiny, tiny, tiny) dust particles, called aerosols.

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