Clouds cover Earth every day and are critical to life as we know it. Clouds impact our day-to-day lives by providing us with fresh water and shading us from the sun. Amidst the beautiful landscapes of clouds in the sky are many processes that play an incredibly important and complex role in Earth’s climate system. On this page, meet some scientists studying clouds, watch some animations and lectures, and get involved identifying clouds.


Featured Scientist: Melissa Burt, Ph.D.

Featured scientist graphic; Melissa Burt

Also hear from Dr. Melissa Burt, and many others, on Science Moms, a nonpartisan group of scientists and moms working together to promote action on climate change.


Animation: Making Clouds

Clouds are made of water or ice crystals, but how do they form? Learn more about cloud formation and when it’s likely to happen. This video is a part of Animated Atmosphere, a suite of short videos produced by the UCAR Center for Science Education with FableVision Studios.


NCAR Explorer Series Lectures

The NSF-NCAR Gulfstream V flies over clouds over the Southern Ocean during the SOCRATES field project.Explore the science of clouds and the people studying them with these science lectures and discussions:


Educational Activity: The Art of Clouds

Claude Monet's The Beach at Sainte-Adresse which shows altocumulus cloudsIn this educational activity, The Art of Clouds, students use an identification guide to identify clouds in the sky and in landscape paintings, and then make their own art to depict cloud types. This is a great activity for kids grades 2-5.



Participatory Science: Clouds

A person holding a cellphone with the UCAR SciEd Field Guide to Clouds app on itDownload the UCAR Center for Science Education's Field Guide to Clouds, a portable guidebook to identifying clouds. For a non-digital way to learn about the different clouds in our sky, download our Cloud Viewer (disponible en español: Identificador de Nubes).