Season and Cloud Base Height
Are the bases of clouds higher or low during winter
months as compared to summer months?
Normally, cloud bases are lower in the wintertime
than during the summer, particularly for stratus
Cloud development depends on several factors, but
is mostly dependent on temperature and the amount
of water vapor in the air. The temperature has to
be low enough to cause the air to become saturated.
If the air is relatively dry, a colder temperature
is required for water vapor to condense into water
droplets. During winter, the temperature of the air
in the lower part of the atmosphere is lower than
during the summer, so stratus clouds can usually form
at somewhat lower heights during the winter than
during the summer.
This is a generalization that does not hold
true under all conditions and at all times.
David R. Cook
Climate Research Section
Environmental Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory
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Update: June 2012