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jump to last post 1-5 of 5 discussions (5 posts)

If all clouds are made of water, why are some white, others black, and others de

  1. TFScientist profile image88
    TFScientistposted 5 years ago

    If all clouds are made of water, why are some white, others black, and others deep blue?

  2. sparkster profile image91
    sparksterposted 5 years ago

    Clouds are basically just water droplets and ice crystals, which are often combined with other atmospheric phenomena such as dust particles and sulfide aerosols (hence different colours).  As a result light becomes reflected and refracted.  The reason we can see most clouds is basically because of condensation, which gives them a white appearance.  For example, we cannot see the small amount of water vapour in the air we breathe, yet we see the steam when we boil our kettle.

  3. watergeek profile image97
    watergeekposted 5 years ago

    Colors also reflect the intensity of condensation. When part of the cloud is already precipitating, i.e. forming the ice crystals that will fall as rain, the color of the cloud is darker.

  4. SidKemp profile image94
    SidKempposted 5 years ago

    Both answers are correct - the density of the cloud and the size of water droplets or ice crystals are key -  and there is another side to the story as well. The light hitting the cloud affects its apparent color, as well. At dawn or at sunset, one cloud may cast a shadow on all or part of another cloud, making the second cloud look darker. Also, the angle of the sun makes a big difference. A cloud seen by reflected light (on the sun-side) is very different than the same cloud seen from the far side, with sunlight around it or shining through it. And there is a third effect - background color changes apparent color of an object. The same cloud in the same light will appear whiter against a blue-sky background and grayer against a background of higher, white clouds.

    Once I saw an entire bank of clouds running from North to South over the ocean to the East at sunset. Every cloud had a dark gray bottom from the shadow of the Earth as they were below the sunset line. Every cloud had a shining white top. It looked like a giant fleet of sailing ships.

  5. Wild_Life profile image58
    Wild_Lifeposted 5 years ago

    Clouds are formed by water particles suspended in the atmosphere, these water particles absorb or deflect the light, so the clouds in his normal state without much density let through all the colors thus resulting in white (and why only the clouds are white? because clouds often distract passing between them making visible colors), and then as you've probably noticed they are black because the density increases, because as it is about to rain means there is plenty of water accumulated in one location (more density) so less light passes through clouds and they are dark. In short, everything is a matter of the amount of light passing through them: fewer clouds with particles of water let through the light and take the white color, the more water there are particles in a cloud, more will be charged the gray tone culminating with the dark gray almost black when the clouds are full of ice crystals, at which time the clouds absorb almost all visible light that passes through them. Sky blue color or pink have water particles with dimensions that make diffracted these colors of the visible spectrum.