Monday, January 22, 2018

An Observation on Cloud Height as Rains Approach

Starting the afternoon of January 21st, the clouds began building up (from what was originally a clear morning) for a rain shower we were promised. I wondered if the clouds were going to get lower as the "storm" approached, so I measured the temperature of  the ground and clouds with a thermal imager (Seek Reveal) every 30 minutes. When the storm finally arrived at 6:00 PM MST, a light drizzle persisted all night. Here are the results.

The ground temperature dropped only five degrees F over the course of my measurements. The cloud temperatures on the other hand increased 31 degrees F over the same time.

Assuming a dry adiabatic lapse rate of 5.4 degrees F per 1,000 feet, this is the height of the clouds as the rains approached. 
I need to repeat this experiment several more times to see if it remains consistent. This also means making these measurements when I know it''s not going to rain or snow.

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