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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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"?

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  • 10 Best Spots on Earth to Watch the Auroras

    10 Best Spots on Earth to Watch the Auroras

    Auroras themselves aren't rare, but spotting one can be tricky: You need a clear, dark sky within one of the auroral zones. What are 10 spots that up the odds a bit? See more »

  • Can we control the weather?

    Can we control the weather?

    Who likes getting caught in a downpour without an umbrella? Not this guy and not us. Are we ever going to achieve rainmaker status so we can dial up a few gentle showers one day and a blast of sunshine the next? See more »

  • Does ball lightning really exist?

    Does ball lightning really exist?

    Ball lightning can float through the air, pass through walls and even kill you. What could it be, and why are scientists finally accepting this strange meteorological phenomenon? See more »

  • How Acid Rain Works

    How Acid Rain Works

    Acid rain is caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants, cars and factories. Find out how acid rain is produced, how it affects natural and man-made objects and how governments aim to reduce it. See more »

  • How Auroras Work

    How Auroras Work

    Auroras are stunning natural light shows that are visible only in certain parts of the world at certain times of the year. Where can you go to see one? See more »

  • How does the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) work?

    How does the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) work?

    How does the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) work? What causes it? Why can you only see it in the North? Are the myths about it producing sound true? See more »

  • 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 »

  • 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 »

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