Air Parcel Simulation

Air Parcel Simulation

Use this simulation to learn about some of the factors that go into the formation of clouds. It touches upon the concepts of buoyancy of air parcels, atmospheric stability, environmental lapse rate, adiabatic cooling, and condensation.

Explore the behavior of dry air parcels:

  • Click the Dry Parcel button (beneath the picture of sand dunes in the desert)
  • Drag the air parcel (the box with a thermometer in it) upward and release it.
  • Use the Environmental Lapse Rate slider and the Surface Temperature slider to change those values.
  • Click the Home button to return to the opening screen.

Explore the behavior of moist air parcels:

  • Click the Moist Parcel button (beneath the picture of clouds).
  • Drag the air parcel upward and release it.
  • Use the Dew Point slider to change the dew point temperature.
  • You can also adjust the values of the Environmental Lapse Rate and the Surface Temperature, as before.

Credit: UCAR/NCAR

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