All through the ages, humans have dreamily gazed at those shape-shifting cotton-balls floating gently across the sky-the clouds.
Atmospheric scientists-Earths professional cloud-gazers--have learned a great deal about clouds over the decades, particularly with the advent of satellites during the 1960s and 70s. But despite years of research and the emergence of increasingly sophisticated tools, scientists are still at odds over one of the most basic issues of all: how to define a cloud.
"The problem is that what we define a cloud as depends on the type of instrument were using to define it," says atmospheric scientist Steven Ackerman, the director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Its an issue Ackerman will discuss today (Dec. 8, 2005) at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, which runs Dec. 5-9.
Steven Ackerman | EurekAlert!
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