Growing cumulus in Ontario

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Lynnkarl Karst
Location: Innerkip, Ontario
Date: 28 June 2014

On a warm summer day, cumulus clouds form as sun-heated surface air rises. As the air rises, it cools, eventually to its dewpoint temperature where the air saturated, above which condensation occurs to form a cloud. As long as the air stays warmer than its environment, it will continue to grow to be cumulus congestus clouds, as are seen in this picture over Ontario, Canada.

When the clouds block the sun, alternating rays of light and shadows are observed, referred to as crepuscular rays. As the sun continues to set, the sun’s rays have to pass through more of the atmosphere, where the shorter wavelengths of the visible spectrum (the blues) are scattered away, leaving the pinks/oranges/reds to color the clouds late in the day.

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