Summer clouds build vertically but winter clouds are stretched in the horizontal. Why?

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Dear Tom,
Summer clouds build vertically but winter clouds are stretched in the horizontal. Why?

Don,
Kansas City,  Missouri

Dear Don,
Cold-season precipitation often falls from stratiform clouds (extensive horizontal development) rather than cumuliform (vertically developed) clouds. Winter storms tend to be huge, sometimes 1,000+ miles across. They are the by-products of powerful jet streams that form between wide north/south temperature variations. By contrast, summer sunlight is stronger and heats more uniformly. Large temperature spreads become unlikely and so do the large low pressure systems they produce. Increased heating encourages air to rise to great heights, building taller summer clouds than those of winter. Summer clouds are thicker and more opaque to sunlight than winter clouds.

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