HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) – Throughout the day the sun heats the surface of the earth, causing temperatures to climb into the afternoon. On overcast days clouds will cause inhibit some of the sun’s solar energy from reaching the surface. Our daytime high temperature is usually much lower than usual these days because of CLOUDS!
Clouds play an interesting role in our day-to-day weather, they can cause cooler days, but warmer nights. Once the sun sets, they have a complete opposite effect on our temperature.
Without incoming solar rays, the earth is able to release some of its heat back into space. It radiates! When clouds are in place some of this longwave radiation being released is trapped and sent back down to earth. This does not allow our surface to cool down as efficiently.
You might have even heard the along of clouds acting as a ‘blanket’ to our atmosphere. That is practically what is occurring! It’s hard to cool off with a layer of anything on top of you.
When nights are clear and the winds are calm, we experience a process called radiational cooling. This is quite common after cold fronts. Light winds allow heat to rise vertically and with no clouds in sight, heat has a open road to space! Great radiational cooling conditions were in place last night. Enjoy the aftermath of this weather phenomenon this morning!