Atmospheric Science

The atmosphere is the key to life on Earth. This thin layer is what protects us from the hostile environment of space. Here you can learn all about the atmospheric sciences.


The four seasons experienced by Earth's midlatitude regions are being gradually altered by global warming — but a climate expert says they won't completely go away.

A new model describes in more detail how the Chicxulub asteroid affected our planet, from dropping temperatures to pausing photosynthesis, with soot playing an integral part.

Very specific atmospheric conditions and just the right perspective are necessary to see the phenomenon.

Polar temperatures are changing more rapidly than equatorial ones, making the jet stream slower and wider, and extreme events longer-lasting.

Explosive solar events are bad news for Earth, so it's good to keep an eye on space weather. Newly discovered "Rossby-like" waves could help them out with that big job.

We've all seen shots of meteorologists fighting gale-force winds to report on storms. So just how high can the winds get before the reporters are knocked off their feet?

Earth's atmosphere used to be full of toxic hydrogen, but a brief period of methane smog cleared the way for valuable oxygen to set up shop.

Midwestern night owls got a meteoric surprise this week.

The atmosphere protects those of us here on land from cosmic radiation. So what about those who spend time above the clouds?

Weather bombs have produced some of the most destructive storms on record. So what is one exactly?

More than two centuries ago, the biggest volcanic explosion in human history occurred. And it had far-reaching effects.

Florida Tech filmed lightning strikes with powerful cameras that show the strikes almost 30 times slower than real life.

Once 5 miles wide, the Isle de Jean Charles has shrunk to be a spit of land barely a quarter mile wide. Soon it will no longer exist.

Just because astronauts are in space doesn't mean they can't use Twitter. These images of the Northern Lights were shot by International Space Station crewmembers.

Smartphone cameras enable us to take striking pictures of strange atmospheric phenomena—though we don’t always know what we’re seeing.

A double rainbow, man! Just the sight of one can send us babbling into happiness. And why not? Rainbows are beautiful. And two rainbows at the same time? Even better. But just how rare are these colorful arcs?

The longer ice bounces around in storm clouds, the bigger the hailstones will be when they fall to Earth. Drag that process out for a while, and comparisons to mere golf balls just won't cut it.

If the legend is true, at the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold. Does that mean if triple rainbows exist, you'll find three pots of gold?

One of the best things about autumn is watching the leaves change color – fiery hues lining the landscape, ushering in cooler weather. Some say a rainy summer leads to an extra-vivid leaf show. Is that true?

Your grandfather may swear that he can feel the onset of a harsh winter in his bones — and your family may swear it's true — but a lot of us would prefer a more scientific method for predicting what the winter may have in store for us.

We humans have figured out a lot of strange ways to measure the weather. A cricket's chirps can tell us the temperature. The open scales on a pinecone signal a dry spell. But can a ring around the moon really predict rainy days ahead?

It sure would be handy to know what the weather is going to be like for the next year. Unfortunately, there's just one problem: Weather is notoriously difficult to predict. So is the Farmers' Almanac accurate, or is it just blowing hot air?

If humid air is just air plus water, then it has to be heavier than dry air, right? Sure, if it was only a matter of simple addition, but molecular physics is a lot like a bouncer at a club: Nothing gets in unless something else goes out.

Admit it: You'd be just a little freaked out if you looked up at the night sky and saw a weird glowing spiral stretching out before you. In 2009, many claimed to witness exactly such a phenomenon, but were they spinning yarns or telling the truth?

What is the strangest weather-related thing that could happen? Raining frogs? A triple rainbow? Or something else?