101 votes

Why do clouds have well-defined boundaries?

Clouds are fuzzier than they look. Clouds get their white colour from Mie scattering of light from water droplets of size comparable to the wavelength of light. But for smaller droplets Rayleigh ...
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33 votes

Why do clouds have well-defined boundaries?

I just want to expand on Anders’s otherwise great answer, because I think based on the text of the question this paragraph is more what you're asking for: There are doubtless other forces keeping ...
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  • 35k
10 votes

Why do clouds have well-defined boundaries?

Convection in meteorology is often assumed to be more or less adiabatic, and convection is what creates cumulus clouds. You can imagine clouds as bubbles rising inside a water tank, they also have a ...
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  • 101
6 votes

Why do clouds have well-defined boundaries?

Cumulus clouds are opaque (optically thick). The interior of a large cloud is very dark (as you've experienced if you've flown through one in an airliner in the daytime during ascent or descent). When ...
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  • 3,375
3 votes
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Is upper-atmospheric lightning loud?

To hear means, someone needs an ear sensitive enough. As you pointed out, density is the problem. Single atoms or molecules might carry a lot of energy, but there are so few, that your ear might not ...
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1 vote

Calculating the required volume of Helium to put in a weather balloon

You need to calculate the density of the helium at the temperature and pressure of the hight you want to reach (same for the air density). The pressures are equal (I am not sure the tension of the ...
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1 vote

Dust Estimation technique

A very simple method for measuring dust in the air is to draw the air through a filter using a pump and then weigh the filter.
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1 vote
Accepted

Why does rain feel like a chain reaction?

I believe in the phenomenon you are describing, rain starts from the cloud tops where the temperatures are cooler and fall through the cloud. As the cooler raindrops fall through the cloud, they take ...
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1 vote

Calculating the time interval between sunrises with and without the atmosphere

The "standard" altitude given in the Astronomical Almanac, is that the center of the Sun should be 0.8333 degrees below the horizon to account for refraction. [For stars it's 0.5667]. Here ...
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1 vote

Can anyone explain the REAL reason why CO$_2$ increases global temperatures (not the simplistic greenhouse analogy provided for public consumption)?

FWIW, here is my answer from the Earth Sciences SE, the key is to focus on how energy leaves the planet, rather than the fate of IR photons emitted from the surface: Borrowing an explanation from one ...
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