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Why Are Clouds White?

Why are clouds white?


Sometimes nothing paints a prettier picture than a bright blue sky scattered with billowing white clouds. As we look up at this beautiful sight, we wonder: Why are clouds white? Today, we answer this question with help from The Weather Channel.



When warm air rises from the ground, it carries water vapor with it. When the water vapor meets the cold air found high in the sky, the gas condenses to liquid and forms cumulus clouds. While these fluffy-white clouds look like soft pillows of cotton, they are actually composed of small water droplets.


When the sun shines, its electromagnetic spectrum emits a wide range of energy, including the visible spectrum of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet light. The combination of these colors creates white light.


As the sun’s light hits the clouds’ small water droplets, the entire visible spectrum scatters making clouds appear white.

Looking for more Never Stop Asking "Why?" questions? Catch up on all of the past "Whys" on the blog!