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Tag: clouds

Tiny particles formed from trace gases can seed open ocean clouds

Tiny particles formed from trace gases can seed open ocean clouds

Science
Jan. 22 (UPI) -- It doesn't take much to seed a cloud in the atmosphere above the open ocean, according to a new study published Friday in the journal Nature Communications. When sunlight reacts with trace gas molecules in the marine boundary layer, the half-a-mile-thick layer of atmosphere that sits above the open ocean, tiny aerosols are forged -- a process called new particle formation. Advertisement "When we say 'new particle formation,' we're talking about individual gas molecules, sometimes just a few atoms in size, reacting with sunlight," study co-author Chongai Kuang said in a news release. "It's interesting to think about how something of that scale can have such an impact on our climate -- on how much energy gets reflected or trapped in our atmosphere," said Kuang, a climate sc...
Is there life floating in the clouds of Venus?

Is there life floating in the clouds of Venus?

Science
It's an extraordinary possibility - the idea that living organisms are floating in the clouds of Planet Venus.But this is what astronomers are now considering after detecting a gas in the atmosphere they can't explain.That gas is phosphine - a molecule made up of one phosphorus atom and three hydrogen atoms.On Earth, phosphine is associated with life, with microbes living in the guts of animals like penguins, or in oxygen-poor environments such as swamps.For sure, you can make it industrially, but there are no factories on Venus; and there are certainly no penguins.So why is this gas there, 50km up from the planet's surface? Prof Jane Greaves, from Cardiff University, UK and colleagues are asking just this question.They've publis...
Clouds make newer climate models more realistic, but also less certain

Clouds make newer climate models more realistic, but also less certain

Science
June 24 (UPI) -- Efforts to improve the precision with which climate models simulate cloud processes have yielded more realistic models. New research suggests these efforts have also introduced greater uncertainty, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. When the latest generation of climate models started producing results last year, researchers noticed that several models were predicting higher amounts of warming than previous models. The results of the new models inspired news headlines that suggested global warming might be worse than previously thought. Advertisement As researchers with the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, CMIP6, soon found out, a few of the latest generation of models predicted smaller levels of warming than previous models. T...
Giant carbon clouds surround young galaxies

Giant carbon clouds surround young galaxies

Science
Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Old -- but newly analyzed -- data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile suggest young, growing galaxies are enveloped in a massive cloud of carbon gas. Cosmological models have not previously predicted the presence of such clouds, but using ALMA observations, scientists successfully measured billows of gaseous carbon measuring 30,000 light-years across. "We examined the ALMA Science Archive thoroughly and collected all the data that contain radio signals from carbon ions in galaxies in the early universe, only one billion years after the Big Bang," Seiji Fujimoto, an astronomer at the University of Copenhagen, said in a news release. "By combining all the data, we achieved unprecedented sensitivity. To obtain a data set of the same quality with o...
Study links lightning with gamma rays inside clouds

Study links lightning with gamma rays inside clouds

Science
June 25 (UPI) -- Weak gamma-ray glows appear to precede lightning strikes and accompanying gamma-ray flashes under certain conditions. Over the last several years, researchers at the University of Tokyo worked with schools and businesses in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, in central Japan, to install a network of radiation monitors for studying lightning. "Forever, people have seen lightning and heard thunder. These were the ways we could experience this power of nature," University of Tokyo graduate student Yuuki Wada said in a news release. "With the discovery of electromagnetism, scientists learned to see lightning with radio receivers. But now we can observe lightning in gamma rays -- ionizing radiation. It's like having four eyes to study the phenomena." Scientists used observations ...