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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.