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 The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>