Fire & Ice
Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University investigated the effects wildfires have on cloud formation and the intense storms that can develop from them.
Credit: National Science Foundation
Fire and ice
I'm Mo with The Discovery Files, from NSF -- the U.S. National Science Foundation.
One keeps you warm when it gets cold, the other, you might need gloves, in order to hold.
That clever riddle is about fire and ice. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University investigated the effects wildfires have on cloud formation and the intense storms that can develop from them.
Clouds are made up of tiny floating ice crystals and water droplets that are generated when water particles condense because the temperature is low and the atmosphere reaches water vapor saturation.
Using state-of-the-art instruments, scientists analyzed the smoke released from plant materials that burn in wildfires globally like tall grasses, shrubs, and trees.
The team wanted to find out if the smoke particles chemical aging process during their lengthy travel through the earth's atmosphere, would alter their effects on clouds.
They discovered, aged particles emitted by wildfires can have an even greater impact on cloud behavior and as wildfire particles age the more intense precipitation can become.
Understanding these impacts is key to accurately modeling earth's climate and how it could continue to change with increasing wildfire activity.
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