Science | Forces of Nature | 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 is snow white?

Why is snow white? It's frozen water, and water isn't white, it's clear.


How Auroras Work

How Auroras Work

An aurora is a light phenomenon caused by solar winds interacting with the Earth's magnetic field. Learn more about auroras. 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. See more »

Why does the sky get dark at night?

Why does the sky get dark at night?

Why does the sky get dark at night? Don't tell me it's just because the Earth rotates and the sun sets -- what I mean is, with all of its stars and other luminous bodies, why isn't the universe infinitely bright? See more »

What is relative humidity and how does it affect how I feel outside?

What is relative humidity and how does it affect how I feel outside?

What is relative humidity and how does it affect how I feel outside? See more »

Why do bridges ice before the rest of the highway?

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? See more »

Why is snow white?

Why is snow white?

Why is snow white? It's frozen water, and water isn't white, it's clear. Learn why snow is white by examining the frequencies of light and how they're absorbed. See more »

What causes the smell after rain?

What causes the smell after rain?

I've noticed a lot of times, especially in the spring and summer, that there is a strong, funny smell after it rains. Sometimes it is a good smell, and sometimes it is unpleasant. What causes this smell? 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 »

What is the UV index and how is it calculated?

What is the UV index and how is it calculated?

Every night on the news, the weatherperson reports the UV index. What is the UV index and how is it calculated? 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 »