Friday, April 3, 2009

What a Wonderful World, Part 2

I am not a scientist, but I am a crap (pardon my language) savant. That is, someone who for no explicable reason absorbs trivial facts (like the names of small tree frogs in different regions) but can't remember important facts like trash pickup days. (Sigh) It's a burden, but someone has to bear it.

06Indianola MS

I have been struck by the beauty of what is hanging over my head atmospherically in the last two weeks, and whilst tagging my photographic finds on Flickr decided to check out what the names for the different cloud types were.


It was then that I made this discovery. (dun dun duh!) Earth talks to the sky. No, this isn't a conspiracy theory, it is pure science.

About 40 years ago scientists discovered these little microbes called ice nucleators. They are a type of bacteria that are in dust, and serve as the foundation for formation of ice and snow crystals in clouds. They get kicked up by a farmer plowing his field and carried into the clouds by wind. Ski areas use a type of these things to create artificial snow.

houclouds 2

I still can't tell you the difference between the lus-es, be they strato, nimbo, cumu, or their higher flying cousins, but I am fascinated by the fact that earth and sky communicate via those teeny little ice nucleators. Ice nucleators are our friends. Peace, out.

What a wonderful world!

(cue Louie Armstrong again.)

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