By Richard Scorer
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Additional resources for A Colour Guide to Clouds
Layers of altocumulus often have very sharp edges whose explanation is rather uncertain. Each of these layers is composed of cloudlets because thin uniform layers cannot exist for more than a few minutes without breaking up in this way. Convection in them is often caused by the loss of heat from the top of the cloud into space. Sunshine has very little effect: most of the energy of sunshine is either reflected or passes through the cloud. If there is a difference in wind between the top and the bottom of the layer the cloudlets are formed into rolls (See 32).
It is soon evaporated by sunshine in summer but may last all day in the depth of winter. T o cool a deeper layer than this one it is necessary to cool it at the top so that downward thermals (cold ones) are produced, or for the cooling to be spread upwards by srirring motions in the air. 50 43. Sea fog is common in the warm sectors of depressions. It is also common when tropical air travels over cool sea in other circumstances. Because the sunshine has a negligible heating effect on the cloud itself (See 40), and alters the sea temperature very little (except where the water is very shallow), sea fog is only dispersed when it is carried in the wind over sunwarmed land.
59 (Allowance must be made for perspective if they are not vertically overhead. ) 10. T o observe the growth and development of clouds, particularly cumulus and cirrus, the following methods may be used: (i) sketches, using pencil and paper, at intervals of 5 or 10 minutes. (ii) photographs taken a minute or two apart. (iii) single exposures at a regular interval of 2 or 3 seconds on cine-film with the camera fixed, shown at normal cineprojection speed. This can be particularly revealing when applied to wave clouds.