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White colour of clouds is due to which phenomena?
1. Reflection of light
2. Scattering of light
3. Refraction of light
4. Dispersion of light

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Correct Answer - Option 2 : Scattering of light


Rayleigh's law of scattering:

  • According to Rayleigh's law of scattering, the intensity of light of wavelength λ present in the scattered light is inversely proportional to the fourth power of λ, provided the size of the scattering particles are much smaller than λ. Mathematically,

\(I \propto \frac{1}{\lambda }\)

  • Thus the scattered intensity is maximum for shorter wavelength.


  • Clouds are white because light from the Sun is white.
  • As light passes through a cloud, it interacts with the water droplets, which are much bigger than the atmospheric particles that exist in the sky.
  • When sunlight reaches an atmospheric particle in the sky, blue light is scattered away more strongly than other colours, giving the impression that the sky is blue.
  • But in a cloud, sunlight is scattered by much larger water droplets.
  • These scatter all colours almost equally meaning that the sunlight continues to remain white and so make the clouds appear white against the background of the blue sky.
  • Light entering the Earth's atmosphere gets scattered by coming in contact with atmospheric particles.
  • This phenomenon is called the scattering of light.

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