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‘Aircrafts can alter weather, cause rain’

US: Aeroplanes influence local weather when they take off and land, according to a study published in the ‘Science’ journal. It has found that aircrafts increase the chances of snow and rain during take off and landing. These findings are based-on satellite images of clouds around airports.
The phenomenon occurs when aircraft smash through clouds containing “supercooled” water — or water that exists as droplets of liquid at temperatures of minus 10C or below. As an aeroplane passes through a cloud, air behind the wings and propellers expands and cools rapidly. These sudden drops in temperature can be enough to freeze droplets of super-cooled water, turning them into ice crystals.
Over time, ice crystals grow and affect neighbouring drops of water — creating a hole in the cloud that expands for several hours and increasing the chances of snow or rain on the ground underneath. Dr Andrew Heymsfield of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, said aircraft increased the chances of snow when they punched holes in clouds after taking off and when they created ‘canals’ in clouds when descending.
“Whether an airplane creates a hole or a canal in the clouds depends on its trajectory. When they climb through a super-cooled cloud layer, they can just produce a hole. But when they fly level through the cloud layer, they can produce long canals,” he said.
Source: TOI