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ALEX BARTEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALEX BARTEL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Stratocumulus clouds. Clouds are formed when air containing water vapour cools in the presence of suitable condensation nuclei (e.g. dust particles). The large numbers of water droplets or ice crystals formed are virtually suspended in the atmosphere and reflect light well, which is why clouds often appear to be dense opaque objects. Most clouds form by convection. Warm moist air from near the Earth's surface penetrates upwards into regions of lower pressure where it expands, cools and condenses. Stratocumulus is a low altitude cloud which often forms in clear air, and rarely produces precipitation.
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