Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Season and Cloud Base Height
Name: Charlie
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

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 clouds.

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

Click here to return to the Weather Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory