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River Science: Cloud Cover

Students on the Half Moon are encouraged to observe the cloud cover above us which often varies wildly over the course of a given Voyage of Discovery.

Interested s tudents can learn how to determine the percentage of cloud cover in the sky, and how to identify distinct cloud formations, such as curling cirrus clouds, flat stratus clouds, or puffy cumulus clouds.


These cloud formations affect our work on the Half Moon in several ways. First, they can serve as an indicator of incoming weather fronts, such as the storms that have just recently been pummeling the northeast Atlantic coast. Of more immediate import for our sailors, however, overcast skies can make celestial navigation nearly impossible. Solid cloud cover on Day Three prevented the Celestial Navigation team from collecting more than a handful of data points. Fortunately, the next day saw the clouds breaking up (as seen here), allowing the research team to conduct their work.

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