Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Big Hole Filled in Cloud Research

04.07.2011
Planes may punch precipitation-producing holes or canals into clouds, and thereby increase precipitation near airports

Under certain conditions, private and commercial propeller planes and jet aircraft may induce odd-shaped holes or canals into clouds as they fly through them. These holes and canals have long fascinated the public and now new research shows they may affect precipitation in and around airports with frequent cloud cover in the wintertime.

Here is how: Planes may produce ice particles by freezing cloud droplets that cool as they flow around the tips of propellers, over wings or over jet aircraft, and thereby unintentionally seed clouds. These seeding ice particles attract more moisture, becoming heavier, and then "snow out" or fall out of the cloud as snow along the path of a plane, thereby creating a hole in a cloud.

The effects of this inadvertent cloud seeding are similar to the effects of the intentional seeding of clouds: that is, both processes may increase the amount of precipitation falling from clouds.

The study, which was partially funded by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., appears in the July 1, 2011 issue of the journal Science. NCAR is partially funded by the National Science Foundation.

"It is unlikely that the hole-punching ability of planes affects global climate," says Andrew Heymsfield of NCAR, the study's lead author. But because the hole-punching ability of planes is particularly high when they fly through low subfreezing clouds, major airports that are covered in low clouds during winter are particularly vulnerable to precipitation associated with this inadvertent seeding.

This vulnerability means it may be necessary to de-ice planes more frequently, Heymsfield says. Also, because weather station records that climate modelers incorporate into climate predictions are housed at airports in the Arctic and Antarctic, climate predictions for these areas may be influenced by local weather conditions caused by inadvertent seeding near those airports.

Heymsfield says that his team's latest research built on a paper published by the team last year on a similar topic in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society by: 1) evaluating the exact types of aircraft that produce airplane induced holes and canals; 2) measuring the spread and persistence of the holes; 3) hypothesizing the mechanisms for the spread of holes; 4) numerically modeling the holes; 5) defining the processes for their spread and persistence; and 6) examining how often hole punched clouds and associate effects may occur near several major airports.

For more information about inadvertent cloud seeding by planes, see NCAR's press release on the study.

Media Contacts
Lily Whiteman, National Science Foundation (703) 292-8310 lwhitema@nsf.gov
David Hosansky, National Center for Atmospheric Research (303) 497-8611 hosansky@ucar.edu
Principal Investigators
Andrew Heymsfield, National Center for Atmospheric Research (303) 497-8943 heyms1@ucar.edu
Related Websites
NSF Report -- Clouds: The Wild Card of Climate Change: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/clouds/

NSF Press Release -- Clouds: A Weapon Against Climate Change?: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=119462

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Lily Whiteman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>