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.

Learn More

Greenland Crater First Ever Found Beneath Glacial Ice Sheet

This ice-age asteroid crater isn't just the first of its kind. It may also be the smoking gun about what triggered the Younger Dryas, one of the most well-known examples of abrupt climate change.

Why Ice Usually Freezes Cloudy, Not Clear

Ice cubes usually look cloudy and opaque in the middle, despite the fact that water is clear. What's the deal?

Ice Crystals Cause Beautiful Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent clouds form at high altitudes when drifting particles become coated with ice crystals at low temperatures.

Weather and Climate: What's the Difference?

It's sometimes easy to confuse the two, but weather and climate are very different things.

Earth Hits 400 Straight Months of Hot

The evidence is clear: Human activities — like the burning of fossil fuels — are the main driving force behind modern climate change.

Climate Change Threatens the Moai of Easter Island

The danger to the iconic statues is now greater than ever due to erosion and higher-energy wave action caused by climate change.

The Amazing, and Alarming, Science Behind Red Snow

Red snow? Yes. It totally exists. And while it might look cool, it's not exactly what you want to see from Mother Nature.

As Earth's Climate Changes, Is It Time to Redefine the Four Seasons?

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.

Scientists Develop Clearer Idea of How Dino-Killing Asteroid Changed Earth's Environment

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.

'Pilot's Glory': Why a Rainbow Encircles an Airplane Shadow on Clouds

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

Weather Patterns Are Getting Stuck as Climate Changes Affect the Jet Stream

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

Becoming Better Solar Meteorologists, With Help From Some Monster Waves

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.

Yes, Wind Can Blow You Away If It's the Right Speed

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 Early Atmosphere Was Briefly a Methane Haze

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.

Green Fireball Lights Up Midwestern Night Skies

Midwestern night owls got a meteoric surprise this week.

NASA Investigates Cosmic Ray Impact on High-altitude Travelers

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

Weather Bombs Are Spectacularly Destructive

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

200 Years Ago, We Had a Year Without a Summer

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

You Haven't Seen Lightning Until You've Seen This Slow-motion Lightning

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

Tiny Louisiana Community Is Rapidly Vanishing Due to Rising Seas

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.

The Aurora as Seen From Space Is Prettier Than You Ever Imagined

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.

'Fire Rainbows' and 'Sun Dogs': Weird Weather in the Smartphone Age

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

How rare are double rainbows?

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?

How big can hail get (and how is that even possible)?

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.

Could there be a triple rainbow?

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?


Recommended