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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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ScienceShot: How Planes Make Rain
14 June 2010 3:44 pm
Fly the friendly skies—and make it rain. That's what researchers have found airplanes tend to do when they take off or descend through clouds of the altocumulus variety. The clouds, which range in altitude from about 1 to 6 kilometers, have been known to develop gaping holes or channels near airports, though no one knew why. Nor could anyone explain why their appearance immediately brought localized precipitation. But this month in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, researchers report that when a jet or turboprop flies through clouds containing droplets of supercooled water, which can remain liquid even as low as -15°C, the droplets condense after passing over the aircraft's wings (or the blades of its propellers). The now-frozen droplets immediately fall to earth as rain or snow, and their absence creates the characteristic circular hole or tunnel effect in the clouds.
See more ScienceShots.