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.
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Why do bridges ice before the rest of the highway?

I've noticed signs on the highway that warn "Bridge Ices Before Road." What causes bridges to ice before the rest of the highway?

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  • How does the windchill factor work?

    How does the windchill factor work?

    What is "wind chill"? Does it have any effect on inanimate objects? See more »

  • How Weather Works

    How Weather Works

    You might think of weather as something that happens around your life. It could prevent you from taking a bike ride or inspire you grab an umbrella on your way out. But there's more to weather than its ability to thwart the best-laid plans. See more »

  • If the temperature is 30 degrees F, why do we sometimes get snow and other times get freezing rain?

    If the temperature is 30 degrees F, why do we sometimes get snow and other times get freezing rain?

    Precipitation can vary from rain to snow when the temperature is below freezing. Why does precipitation not always fall as snow when it's below freezing? See more »

  • Is every snowflake actually unique?

    Is every snowflake actually unique?

    You've probably heard that no two snowflakes are alike, but can that be true? Find out how molecules of water vapor come together to form these winter wonders. See more »

  • Is humid air heavier than dry air?

    Is humid air heavier than dry 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. See more »

  • Is the cloud spiral phenomenon real?

    Is the cloud spiral phenomenon real?

    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? See more »

  • What causes a rainbow?

    What causes a rainbow?

    We can usually see rainbows right after a rainstorm on a warm Spring day. These giant colorful arcs stand out against the dark rain clouds. Have you ever wondered what causes this phenomena? Find out how rainbows are created in this article from HowStuffWorks. See more »

  • What causes the seasons?

    What causes the seasons?

    What causes the seasons? Why are the seasons reversed in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres? And if the Earth moves in an elliptical orbit around the Sun, why don't we have two summers and two winters every year? See more »

  • What causes the smell after rain?

    What causes the smell after rain?

    Especially in the spring and summer, there's often a strong, funny smell right after it rains. What's behind "rain smell"? See more »

  • What does it mean when a barometer is rising or falling?

    What does it mean when a barometer is rising or falling?

    Barometers are used to predict the weather. What exactly does it mean when the weatherman says the barometer is rising or falling? See more »

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