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Weather experiment making a cloud and becoming a cloud spotter

Posted at 5:58 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 08:16:19-04

GRAND RAPIDS — Mostly cloudy and partly cloudy are terms we hear often in weather forecasts, but do you know the three ingredients it take to form those clouds? Or how to tell the difference between types of clouds? This weather experiment will actually make a cloud and then learn how to spot clouds right in your backyard! Here is a list of what you need to get started!

-2 liter clear plastic bottle
-matches (adult assistance)
- warm water

Step 1:
Fill the clear bottle with warm water and place the cap back on

This warm water is starting to evaporate and is adding water vapor to the air inside the bottle. Remember water vapor is the first ingredient we need to make a cloud!

Step 2:
Try squeezing and releasing the bottle….does anything happen yet? No

The squeeze represents the warming that occurs in the atmosphere and the releasing represents the cooling in the atmosphere

Step 3: *Adult Assistance Needed*
Have Mom and Dad do every part of this step fast!!
Take the cap off the bottle then light a match close to the bottle top and drop the match in the bottle. Lastly, quickly put the cap back on the bottle

The smoke from the match is acting like the dust, smoke and other particles found in the atmosphere that the invisible gaseous water vapor can attach on to. It will start to condense and form small cloud droplets.

Step 4:
Once again try squeezing the bottle pretty hard and release it……what happens? A cloud appears!
When you release the bottle you get the cloud and it disappears when you squeeze it. This represents the change in pressure as clouds form when there is a drop in air pressure.

So there you go! A made a cloud in a bottle! Now let's become cloud spotters!

You will want to go print off and cut out the cloud spotter wheel from the National Weather Service. You can now go explore in your backyard identifying clouds! This wheel will explain what each basic cloud form looks like and where in the atmosphere it typically sits whether its high, medium or low clouds.

Send our meteorologist Candace Monacelli your pictures doing this experiments at home and identifying clouds outside! She will feature future meteorologists on my Facebook page daily!