Weather Whys: Explaining radiational cooling

Weather Whys: Explaining radiational cooling

A viewer wrote in asking why clouds sometimes make the temperatures warmer and other times make it colder for Weather Whys. The answer has to do with radiational cooling and has more to do with the differences in cloud cover during daytime or nighttime. 

Regardless of cloud cover, during the day the sun will heat up the atmosphere causing the temperature to rise. The temperature rises higher without cloud cover but still rises with it. At nightime that warmth tries to escape into the atmosphere but when it's cloudy the clouds act like a blanket and trap the warm air near the ground. When there are no clouds the warmth escapes into space. That's why temperatures at night are warmer when there are clouds and colder when the sky is clear. 

There are other factors when it comes to changing temperatures including wind speed, direction and dew point but clouds play a big role.

Weather Whys is a segment by Meteorologist Justin Thompson-Gee that airs during the CBS 58 News on WMLW - The M from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. The segment answers viewer weather questions, explains weather phenomena and reveals interesting weather stats. To submit your question reach out to Justin on Facebook, Twitter or by emailing him at [email protected].

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