Shrinking Sky! Cloud Tops Dropping Closer to Earth, NASA Satellite Finds Live Science - February 22, 2012
The sky is falling ... sort of. Over the last 10 years, the height of clouds has been shrinking, according to new research. The time frame is short, but if future observations show that clouds are truly getting lower, it could have an important effect on global climate change. Clouds that are lower in the atmosphere would allow Earth to cool more efficiently, potentially offsetting some of the warming caused by greenhouse gases. "We don't know exactly what causes the cloud heights to lower," study researcher Roger Davies of the University of Auckland in New Zealand said in a statement. "But it must be due to a change in the circulation patterns that give rise to cloud formation at high altitude." Clouds are a wildcard in understanding Earth's climate. Ephemeral as they are, they're difficult to track over time, and factors such as height and location make a big difference in whether clouds will slow the effects of global warming or exacerbate them. And no one fully understands how clouds will respond to a warming climate.
UFO-Like Clouds Linked to Military Maneuvers? National Geographic - January 28, 2011
Triple "hole-punch clouds" appeared close together off South Carolina January 7, 2011. Three nearly identical, UFO-like cloud formations recently appeared over Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, sparking online discussions linking the features to everything from the Second Coming to recent mass bird deaths to secret military experiments. At least one scientist believes the so-called hole-punch clouds have a military explanation, though it may not be quite what conspiracy theorists expect. On January 7, IT technician Wesley Tyler was running out to his car for a computer part when he noticed the saucer-like formations.
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