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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

Cumulus Stage

The sun heats the earth's surface during the day. The heat accumulates on the surface and warms the air around it. Since warm air is lighter than cool air, it starts to rise (known as an updraft). If the air is moist, then the warm air condenses into a cumulus cloud. The cloud will continue to grow in height as long as warm air below it continues to rise. The formation of a cumulus cloud takes only a few minutes.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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Surface of the Earth

Most of the Earth's surface (70%) is covered with water, and the remaining 30% is taken up by the seven continental landmasses. However, underneath the water that fills the oceans, and the dirt and plants...more

Forked Lightning

Forked lightning occurs when a second lightning stroke doesn't follow the same path as the first lightning stroke. Thus, it appears forked....more

Stationary Fronts

A stationary front typically forms from either a cold or warm front that has stopped moving. This happens when two air masses are pushing against each other but neither is powerful enough to move the other....more

Warm Fronts

A warm front is where a warm air mass is pushing into a colder air mass. Warm fronts move more slowly than cold fronts because it is more difficult for the warm air to move against the cold, dense air....more

Cold Fronts

A cold front is where a cold air mass is pushing into a warmer air mass. Cold fronts can produce dramatic changes in the weather. They move fast, up to twice as fast as a warm front. Cold air is dense...more

Occluded Fronts

Sometimes a cold front follows right behind a warm front. A warm air mass pushes into a colder air mass (the warm front) and then another cold air mass pushes into the warm air mass (the cold front). Because...more

Clouds

Clouds can come in all sizes and shapes, and can form near the ground or high in the atmosphere. Clouds are groups of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in the sky and are formed by different processes....more

How Hurricanes Form

A thunderstorm in the tropics can grow into a massive hurricane under certain conditions. Sometimes several tropical thunderstorms are able to organize, rotating around a central area of low pressure....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF