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The atmosphere is made up of 4 distinct layers: the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. Different types of clouds form in the different layers depending on the pressure in the atmosphere and the ambi- ent temperature. The cloud types include nimbus, stratus, cumulus, and cirrus. Figure 1 shows the location of the barriers of the atmosphere when the temperature and pressure are at an ideal condition for cloud formation. It also shows the different types of clouds formed at the different levels.

->How do you interpret this kind of graph? I sort of get it that as we go higher, pressure increases, while temperature decreases. But the graph looks weird to me and I can't seem to understand the right side of the graph, which sort of "shows that temperature also increases". Can anyone help me explain the concept behind this type of graphical representation? Thanks in advance.

  • $\begingroup$ is there some more context to this? can you link to the source? $\endgroup$
    – oW_
    May 24 '17 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ I just got it from a reviewer and that's all of it. The rest are just questions. $\endgroup$
    – Anonymous
    May 25 '17 at 10:49

That looks a double axis or dual axis graph but isn't well done or I don't understand clouds well enough. It is almost like a Sankey diagram. Problems:

  • What does the X axis convey, if anything?
  • It appears that the cloud types are relatively stratified but I'm not sure what causes the waviness over the X axis. Is it related to the two lines for temperature and pressure?

Compare that to a phase diagram like below. I'm not a chemist, but this is a lot easier for me to interpret. The x axis is the temperature, the y axis is pressure, and the lines clearly show where the material switches phases, similar to cloud types. There isn't ambiguity at any point about which phase would be in place. Now try figuring out what type of cloud you would have in your diagram at 30C and 8psi.

phase diagram


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