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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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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.