Weather 101 Explainer
Here is today’s question.
Water in clouds can still be liquid even if the air temperature is below 32°.
True or False?
The answer is TRUE!
Suspended or falling water droplets in clouds where the air temperature is below freezing are called “supercooled”. Supercooling is the process of lowering a liquid or gas below it’s freezing point, while maintaining it’s current state and not becoming a solid. This occurs in clouds when air parcels reach saturation and condense above the freezing level, where the air temperature is below freezing. Since liquid needs a surface to freeze on the droplet will remain in a liquid state until after coalescing with other supercooled water droplets forming a larger droplet which weighs too much to stay suspended and falls or it comes in contact with a solid surface while suspended. Often when planes fly through stratus and cumulus clouds, they can get a thin layer of ice on their wings, because it is a solid surface the supercooled water droplets can coalesce to. Freezing rain is defined as supercooled water droplets that fall from clouds and freeze as soon as they hit a solid object.