Related topics: climate change · earth · climate models · climate · sunlight

EarthCARE satellite to probe how clouds affect climate

Will clouds help cool or warm our world in the years ahead? The EarthCARE satellite will soon blast off on a mission to find out, aiming to investigate what role clouds could play in the fight against climate change.

Webb detects most distant black hole merger to date

An international team of astronomers have used the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope to find evidence for an ongoing merger of two galaxies and their massive black holes when the universe was only 740 million years ...

Does the Milky Way have too many satellite galaxies?

The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are well-known satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, but there are more. It is surrounded by at least 61 within 1.4 million light years (for context the Andromeda galaxy is 2.5 million ...

Ritacuba Blanco: death of a Colombian glacier

Just a few months ago, the Colombian mountain peak of Ritacuba Blanco was covered in an unbroken layer of white ice and snow, just as it had been for as long as anyone can remember.

Making sure ESA's cloud and aerosol satellite is aerosol-free

A few weeks ago, a team of engineers carefully extracted ESA's EarthCARE satellite from its protective transport container, initiating a meticulous process of inspection, testing and preparation for its liftoff later this ...

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Cloud

A cloud is a visible mass of droplets or frozen crystals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of the Earth or another planetary body. A cloud is also a visible mass attracted by gravity, such as masses of material in space called interstellar clouds and nebulae. Clouds are studied in the nephology or cloud physics branch of meteorology.

On Earth the condensing substance is typically water vapor, which forms small droplets or ice crystals, typically 0.01 mm in diameter. When surrounded by billions of other droplets or crystals they become visible as clouds. Dense deep clouds exhibit a high reflectance (70% to 95%) throughout the visible range of wavelengths. They thus appear white, at least from the top. Cloud droplets tend to scatter light efficiently, so that the intensity of the solar radiation decreases with depth into the gases, hence the gray or even sometimes dark appearance at the base. Thin clouds may appear to have acquired the color of their environment or background and clouds illuminated by non-white light, such as during sunrise or sunset, may appear colored accordingly. In the near-infrared range, clouds look darker because the water that constitutes the cloud droplets strongly absorbs solar radiation at those wavelengths.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA