China's Lunar New Year exodus cools major cities, study shows

During the week-long Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, work is suspended, businesses close and nearly three billion people leave cities to join their families in rural areas for traditional gatherings. The ...

Ozone layer: how the hole was plugged

In rare good news for the environment, a UN report confirmed Monday that the hole in the ozone layer that had been threatening Earth since the 1980s is shrinking.

Faster-developing, wetter hurricanes to come

In a new study, researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory find that the U.S. Atlantic Coast is becoming a breeding ground for rapidly intensifying hurricanes. Fueled by environmental ...

World's whitest paint now thinner than ever, ideal for vehicles

The world's whitest paint—seen in this year's edition of Guinness World Records and "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert"—keeps surfaces so cool that it could reduce the need for air conditioning. Now the Purdue University ...

Wildfire smoke exposure hurts learning outcomes

When wildfire smoke pollutes the air in schoolyards and classrooms, as it does with increasing frequency and severity across the country, it hurts not only children's health but also their ability to learn and possibly their ...

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Air conditioning

Air conditioning refers to the cooling and dehumidification of indoor air for thermal comfort. In a broader sense, the term can refer to any form of cooling, heating, ventilation or disinfection that modifies the condition of air. An air conditioner (often referred to as AC or air con.) is an appliance, system, or mechanism designed to stabilise the air temperature and humidity within an area (used for cooling as well as heating depending on the air properties at a given time), typically using a refrigeration cycle but sometimes using evaporation, most commonly for comfort cooling in most buildings and motor-cars.

The concept of air conditioning is known to have been applied in Ancient Rome, where aqueduct water was circulated through the walls of certain houses to cool them. Similar techniques in medieval Persia involved the use of cisterns and wind towers to cool buildings during the hot season. Modern air conditioning emerged from advances in chemistry during the 19th century, and the first large-scale electrical air conditioning was invented and used in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier.

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