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12 September 2019
Anybody who has ever tried to photograph lightning knows that it takes patience and special camera equipment. Now, a new study is using those brief but brilliant flashes to illuminate cloud structures and shed light on storm cell behavior, giving weather forecasters new tools for predicting lightning hazards.
23 July 2018
Clouds are an inspiration to most of us, but a nightmare for climate scientists. Clouds are exceptionally complex creatures, and that complexity makes it difficult to predict how and where they’ll form – which is unfortunate, since those predictions are essential to understanding precipitation patterns and how our climate will change in the future.
30 May 2018
Increasing summer temperatures brought on by a combination of intensifying urbanization and warming climate are driving off once common low-lying morning clouds that shade many southern coastal areas of California, leading to increased risk of wildfires.
8 June 2017
A cloud full of lollipops may sound like the most delicious carnival treat ever… except this cloud’s lollipops are made of ice. Scientists spotted the lollipop-shaped ice crystals during a research flight in southwest England. The researchers flew through a large cloud system in 2009 to better understand how ice forms at relatively mild temperatures.
3 November 2016
Scientists’ keen detective work may have solved one of Venus’s oldest secrets: why the planet’s atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet light of a specific frequency. The new findings could help scientists better understand Venus’s thick atmosphere and its heat-trapping clouds, according to the study’s authors.
30 August 2016
Plumes of wildfire smoke envelop and alter clouds, potentially affecting local weather, according to new research based on serendipitous airborne measurements of clouds in smoke from Canadian fires. The new data confirms clouds embedded in smoke are likely to warm up the atmosphere around clouds, causing the clouds to dissipate faster.
19 December 2014
The hardworking AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) instrument in Baengyeong, South Korea was having a rough day. Every 15 minutes, the telescope-like device pointed its barrel at the sun to record its light and measure how much was blocked by airborne particles, or aerosols. July 13, 2012 was an overcast day and the light absorbed by the clouds dominated the measurements. But then, just after 1 p.m., the clouds parted, the instrument looked up, and data was collected. Only no one saw it.
16 October 2013
If you want to understand the atmosphere of a planet, it helps to think big. That’s just what scientists did recently when they created conditions in the world’s largest cloud chamber mimicking those in the thin veil of gases that surrounds Mars. Experiments by the researchers within the three-story shell of a former nuclear reactor confirmed earlier runs in tabletop setups that have shown how the most common clouds on Mars form.
6 November 2012
Air turbulence is a familiar annoyance to travelers and a hassle to airlines. Scientists have long suspected — and predicted in computer models — that mountain-generated atmospheric waves play a key role in such bumpy rides. But the waves have been hard to detect outside of polar regions. New research shows that not only do the turbulence-generating waves exist in those mountainous areas, but scientists can detect them with satellites — if they look hard enough.
15 December 2010
At first glance, fluffy clouds seem innocuous. On lazy summer days, they take on whatever form our imaginations can conjure–morphing from fat little bunnies to fire-breathing dragons as the afternoon fades into evening. But if you’re a climate scientist, that mutability is not so fun. Ever changing, their dynamic nature is the bane of many a modeler’s existence.