By Richard Scorer
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Additional info for A Colour Guide to Clouds
42. Radiation fog is the name given to stratus which forms over flat ground or in valley bottoms at night. The cooling which produces the cloud is the result of a loss of heat by radiation into space from the ground, with no compensating heating from the sun. Only a very shallow layer of air close to the ground is cooled and so the cloud is very shallow. It is soon evaporated by sunshine in summer but may last all day in the depth of winter. T o cool a deeper layer than this one it is necessary to cool it at the top so that downward thermals (cold ones) are produced, or for the cooling to be spread upwards by srirring motions in the air.
A tornado is the most violent kind of storm that can occur in the atmosphere. The wind rotates round a centre of low pressure which is formed under some of the most rapidly growing cumulonimbus clouds. The surrounding air is sucked into the vortex, as is clearly shown by the smoke in this picture. If solid objects are sucked up or torn from the ground the violent rotation causes them to be thrown outwards in all directions. Because of the very low pressure in the centre of the vortex cloud is formed there, and if it passes over a house the excess of pressure inside causes the walls to explode outwards.
5. g. by method 2) the height can be estimated from the apparent angular motion when observed from a fixed point. If the height is known the speed may likewise be computed. 6. If the distance is known approximately the rate of rise of cumulus tops can be measured by observing the rate of increase of elevation of the top. This may be done by watching the cloud top move up beyond a pole (with lengths marked on it) at a known distance. 7. The wind direction may be observed by watching the movement of the clouds across the top of a pole while standing at the base.
A Colour Guide to Clouds by Richard Scorer