Water vapour is an extremely important gas found in the atmosphere. It can vary from 4% in the steamy tropics to nearly nonexistent in the cold dry regions of the Antarctic. Water vapor is a good absorber of Earth’s outgoing radiation and thus is considered a greenhouse gas. When water vapor is converted to a liquid during condensation, clouds are formed. Clouds are good absorbers of radiation given off by the Earth’s surface. The absorption of this energy raises the temperature of the air. But clouds are generally light-colored and hence reflect incoming solar radiation off their tops. The reflected light is sent back to space, never reaching the ground to warm the Earth. Thus clouds can have either a warming or a cooling effect on air temperature. For a more details discussion, read more . . .
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