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× Welcome to the CPL Meteorology question and answer forum. Please feel free to post your questions but more importantly also suggest answers for your forum colleagues. Bob himself or one of the other tutors will get to your question as soon as we can.

Latent Heat - Cloud formation

  • Migraine
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Migraine created the topic: Latent Heat - Cloud formation

Can anyone please clarify why a cloud is more buoyant (presumably warmer), than its surroundings after giving up latent heat during development..?
(page 91 Conditions necessary for the formation of a thunderstorm - 'High Humidity')

I understand that for water vapour to change state to liquid (condensation), heat energy must be released.

Am I right in thinking that this 'energy' comes from 'within' the cloud? If so, wouldn't the cloud become cooler as this heat is released/transferred out of the cloud and into its surrounding atmosphere?

Would appreciate some clarification please. : /
#1

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bobtait replied the topic: Latent Heat - Cloud formation

The cloud is a suspension of water droplets in rising air. The water droplets are the product of the process of condensation of invisible water vapor onto microscopic condensation nuclei. When the water vapor condenses it changes from a gas to a liquid. A liquid has less energy than a gas so a by-product of condensation is 'left over' energy which is released as heat into the environment air. Latent heat does not heat the water - it heats the air in which the droplets are suspended. That warm air becomes more buoyant and rises, taking the water droplets with it. Think of the cloud as a mixture of air and water. It's the air that gets heated by the release of latent heat - not the water.
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  • Migraine
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Migraine replied the topic: Latent Heat - Cloud formation

Looking at it that way, it makes total sense now.

Thank you for the quick reply Bob.

:)
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