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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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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.