Discovery News reports on a new study by a team from the National Center for Atmospheric Research that says airplanes flying through clouds could cause them to rain. When airplanes cruise through the clouds, they effect a quick drop in temperature that freezes the droplets in the clouds, turning them into ice crystals. The droplets then begin condensing around them in a chain reaction, resulting in a hole in the clouds through which water and ice fall as rain and snow. The study says that turboprop planes are better than jets for producing the ‘seeding’ effect as they usually fly at the right altitude to encounter clouds with supercooled droplets. The report, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, also mentioned that 7.8 percent of the Earth is covered in clouds ripe for “plane seeding”.
[via Discovery News]