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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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?


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 »

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 »

What is the heat index that the weatherperson talks about during the summer?

What is the heat index that the weatherperson talks about during the summer?

What is the "heat index" that the weatherperson talks about during the summer? Also, why is the air comfortable at only 80 degrees F even though body temperature is 98 degrees F? See more »

Why is it colder at the top of a mountain than it is at sea level?

Why is it colder at the top of a mountain than it is at sea level?

Air temperature is colder on top of a mountain than at sea level, but if heat rises how is this possible? Learn about air temperature in this article. See more »