Watch The Birth Of Atmospheric Ice Clouds Creating Crystals

Posted: Dec 21 2016, 8:29am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Watch the Birth of Atmospheric Ice Clouds Creating Crystals
Ice crystals form around a minuscule particle in the very first seconds of the formation of an ice cloud. Photo Credit: PNNL
  • Watch the video of birth of a stunning ice cloud: the detail shows a process that produces cirrus clouds

Scientists witnessed an ice cloud through their experiment in the laboratory. They developed Ice cloud crystals and captured the entire process through microscope.

Scientists witnessed an ice cloud through their experiment in the laboratory. They developed Ice cloud crystals, and captured the entire process through microscope.

Scientists’ team developed a process named ice nucleation through an experiment of making ice clouds. They took time laps videos of first few seconds when the clouds attract water and make ice crystals, developing cirrus clouds.

The scientists wanted to see how clouds develop and how they affect the climate. Clouds do several functions, like they keep the earth cool by reflecting sunlight, or they heat the planet by absorbing the radiations. Ice clouds are created in the later form.

The process answers the question, how cold clouds form? Stated author Bingbing Wang, a scientist formerly with EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Scientists know how ice grows but they don’t yet know how ice nucleation happens, stated said Wang, who is now a professor at Xiamen University in China.

To get the answer, a team of scientists was developed by, Alexander Laskin, who is a leader of the EMSL group. The team had scientists from different areas, including Stony Brook University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and PNNL. Berkeley Lab, a team, with Daniel Knopf leading the Stony Brook group and Mary Gilles who led the Berkeley group.

The work published in the Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

Lab Clouds

The scientists created atmosphere in lab similar to that exists above earth’s surface.The scientists developed a chamber for climate control where they could control temperature pressure. After that, the scientists developed nucleation event that forms ice when water vapors in the air freeze. This process is also used when frozen foods are formed. Cirrus clouds develop when ice crystals are created by water vapors.

The shape and texture of the clouds depend on crystal forms. The team captured the process of this nucleation event. They took pictures after every 3 seconds and combined the pictures to create the time laps video. The team used high resolution microscope that could record small particles of up to 50 nanometers wide that is about 1000 the width of human hair.

The nucleation temperature was 205 degrees kelvin and the relative humidity was 70 to 80 percent. Similar campaign also happened in May 19, 2010, in the CalNex 2010 field, when scientists used carbon, nitrogen and oxygen to observe nucleation.

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