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Unit 4: Temperature-Moisture Relationship

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Cloud Development Processes

Warm, moist air may be cooled by passing over a cold surface. The cooling takes place near the surface, but if winds are strong, they mix the cooled air so clouds form several hundred or more feet above the ground.


Warm air over cool land.

Nighttime cooling of the ground surface by radiation, and the subsequent cooling of adjacent moist air, may produce saturation and fog.

Nightime Cooling
Nightime cooling

Air can become saturated by the addition of moisture. This may occur by evaporation as cold, dry air passes over warm water. Clouds and precipitation can also occur when warm rain falls through cold air; for example, beneath a warm front. Rain falling from the warm clouds above the front causes clouds to develop.

Adding Moisture to Cool Air
Adding moisture to cool air.

Frontal Activity
Frontal activity.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, October 27). Unit 4: Temperature-Moisture Relationship. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/Forest__Range__and_Wildlife_Sciences/Wildland_Fire_Management_and_Planning/Unit_4__Temperature-Moisture_Relationship_7.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License