Clouds float about in the sky. They look fluffy and white, or sometimes grey and gloomy. They get blown along by the wind. In my 5-year-old’s imagination, they are made of candy floss or cotton wool. What would they taste like, she wondered?
The key to answering this question, is to work out what clouds are actually made of…
Clouds are part of the water cycle:
The water in seas, rivers, lakes, streams and puddles gets warmed up by the sunshine. As it warms up, the water turns into a vapour and teeny, tiny water droplets start to float up into the air. This process is called ‘evaporation’.
The water vapour rises high up into the sky and starts to cool down again (this is known as ‘condensation’). As it cools, the water droplets clump together and begin to make little clouds. As more and more droplets join up, the clouds get bigger.
Eventually, the water droplets in the clouds get so big that they can’t float anymore and they fall back down to the ground. We call these falling water droplets ‘precipitation’ or rain. If it is very cold, the droplets can freeze as they fall and turn into snowflakes or hailstones!
The rainwater falls down onto the ground and makes puddles or runs into streams, rivers, lakes or seas. Then, the whole water cycle process starts all over again!
So, if we could eat or drink them, clouds would taste of water!