Here's What Would Happen If All Clouds Disappeared

The sky stretches above us as far as the eye can see. It holds within it, a multitude of different types of clouds. They are all shapes and sizes with various different purposes. Some of these clouds extend as high as 60,000 feet above our heads. According to National Geographic, these fluffy floating ice crystals on high are of "infinite variations." So varied are they, that scientists have had to simplify them in order to categorize and study them.

As a society, we tend to associate clouds with doom — the early indication of a looming storm. Even in movies and pop culture, they often serve as a foreshadowing of unfortunate events to come. This is a completely undeserved reputation. The more we study the sky, the more we learn how reliant we are upon the clouds. So, what would happen if one day you looked up and every cloud had simply disappeared?

In a world without clouds, a water shortage would slowly overtake us

Anyone familiar with the water system understands that we get our precipitation from the clouds. From this perspective, it becomes clear that a world without clouds is the one that would be gloomy. In fact, this would be a most unfortunate event indeed.

Business Insider does an excellent job of painting the picture of a cloudless apocalypse. In a nutshell, it would mean no rain. Sleet, snow, hail, and fog would also be out of the question. Without even so much as a mist of precipitation, global temperatures and tensions would rise. Business Insider projects that although this halt in precipitation would be immediate, it would still take about 23 years for Earth's surface water to completely dry up. This leaves plenty of time for people to get desperate and/or imaginative as they thirst for survival. Bear in mind that there are also underwater reservoirs and mantle rocks that contain more water than all of Earth's oceans combined (via New Scientist).

Would we be able to tap into this water in time to come up with a more permanent solution, or would humanity's thirst for blood take hold as rations started running out?

In a world without clouds, drought-crazed animals would likely attack surviving humans

Wired UK envisions a world without rain, where human beings are really the least of our problems. With defenses low and cities dismantled, animals would likely creep into urban landscapes motivated by a thirst-driven craze. Human beings fortunate enough to be able to defend themselves against packs of savage beasts would also have to contend with water sources polluted by dead animal carcasses.

Say goodbye to cuddly domesticated pets and hello to the dog days of summer. Kangaroo rats, pocket mice, and desert tortoises would reign, as these animals can survive extended periods with little to no water at all (via BBC). In this way, the absence of clouds would alter everything from the oceans to the cities, from the rivers to the food chain itself. Perhaps the expression "nothing but blue skies" is a bit overly optimistic after all.