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Sky

The sky is made up of 8 layers that are all invisible unless they are filled with clouds or mist. This higher layers are domes at a certain altitude. You always look at these clouds from below since they are located so high above the viewer. But the lower cumulus clouds are different. When a cloud is directly above the viewer, it is viewed from below and will basically look like a white or dark (depending on the height and density) circle-like shape. But as it moves further away, the perspective changes and the clouds slowly becomes stacked. You will be able to see the changes in colour where the cloud is lit by the sun and where the sunlight is blocked by the density of the cloud. This is an incredibly complex process to simulate, especially while the impact on performance should remain limited.

Sailaway has 8 cloud/mist layers, but the weather grip files that are downloaded from NOAA only contain data for: Clouds high, clouds mid, clouds low, humidity, temperature and wind. And so it becomes our best guess to display the correct type of clouds for the location at present. This will not always be 100% correct, but it does give a good impression of overall cloud coverage and it does guarantee that the sky always changes and is always a treat for the eye to watch.

Cirrus

These clouds typically form thin strands and are located very high in the sky at about 12km.

Cirrocumulus

Cumulus clouds that are very high in the sky at about 11km, which is why they appear so small.

Cirrostratus

A layer of mist at about 10-12km, it filters the sunlight only a tiny bit and the blue sky mostly shows through. These clouds can give spectacular sunsets when they light up before the sun actually comes up due to their height.

Altocumulus

Small cumulus clouds, also knows as sheep clouds. They are at 4-6 km altitude.

Altostratus

A layer of mist at an altitude of 4-5 km.

Cumulus

The bottom of these clouds is at about 500 meters while their top can reach as high as 12 km (Cumulonimbus). In Sailaway the more friendly cumulus clouds that reach up to 1500 meters are volumetric and simulated in 3D. This means that they are lit by the sun and their appearance changes. You will even see them evolve and dissolve as they travel past. At sunset the clouds will give a dramatic effect when they are lit from below.

Nimbostratus

A heavy layer of mist at 300 to 2000 meters. From the ground this is experienced as a grey sky and it is hard to see what's beyond. It can even be hard to determine where the sun is and from which direction the light is coming.

Mist

Not really a cloud layer, depending on how you look at it. The fog layer will hide the horizon from view while still offering a clear sky above. Depending on the density and height of the fog of course.

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