Articles on Atmospheric science

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Not all clouds are the same, and climate models have been predicting the wrong kinds of clouds over the Southern Ocean. Kathryn Moore

We caught bacteria from the most pristine air on earth to help solve a climate modeling mystery

Climate models have been overestimating how much sunlight hits the Southern Ocean. This is because the clouds there are different from clouds anywhere else. Bacterial DNA helped us understand why.
Dangerous winds batter the south coast of England. AP Photo/Matt Dunham

What makes the wind?

Wind travels all over the world. Where does it come from, and why?
Rescue workers sift through debris after a mudslide that destroyed three homes on a hillside in Sausalito, Calif., Feb. 14, 2019, during an atmospheric river storm. AP Photo/Michael Short

Atmospheric river storms can drive costly flooding – and climate change is making them stronger

Earth's biggest rivers are streams of warm water vapor in the atmosphere that can cause huge rain and snowfall over land. Climate change is making them longer, wetter and stronger.
The Cape Grim observatory, home of the ‘world’s cleanest air’… and rising greenhouse gases. CSIRO

Why there’s more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere than you may have realised

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at 414 parts per million. But thanks to a recalculation of methane's warming power, the total amount of greenhouse gases is now equivalent to more than 500.
Blizzard conditions cover the Central and Northern Plains on March 13, 2019. NASA Earth Observatory

Why the Great Plains has such epic weather

What creates such dramatic storms across the US Great Plains? The key factors are topography and temperature differences.
Historic flooding in the Midwest, including this farm in Nebraska, has caused widespread damage. DroneBase via AP

For a flooded Midwest, climate forecasts offer little comfort

A climatologist who studies precipitation trends explains how climate change is projected to make flooding events in the Midwest more severe and more frequent.
An image from the International Space Station captures plumes of smoke from California wildfires on August 4, 2018. NASA

Wildfire smoke is becoming a nationwide health threat

Haze from Northern California wildfires has drifted as far east as Philadelphia. Wildfire smoke contains many potentially toxic substances, so anyone exposed to it should take basic precautions.
The ocean absorbs about 90 percent of the excess heat produced as climate change warms the earth. Image Catalog

New findings on ocean warming: 5 questions answered

According to a new study, the oceans have absorbed more heat from climate change than previously thought. This could mean the Earth will warm even faster in the future than scientists have predicted.
One one thousand, two one thousand…. Eric Ward/Unsplash

How far away was that lightning?

When you see a bolt of lightning, do you immediately start counting to see how far off a storm is? An atmospheric scientist parses the practice.
Clouds over Australia’s Davis Research Station, containing ice particles that activate ozone-depleting chemicals, triggering the annual ozone hole. Barry Becker/BOM/AAD

After 30 years of the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is gradually healing

The treaty to limit the destruction of the ozone layer is hailed as the most successful environmental agreement of all time. Three decades on, the ozone layer is slowly but surely returning to health.

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