News Stories

Airports Make it Rain

We've told you why, if you live in a city, it always rains on the weekends. Now we're warning you again: If you're thinking of moving to a home or office near your local airport, you'd better think twice: areas near commercial airports sometimes experience a small but measurable increase in rain and snow when aircraft take off and land under certain atmospheric conditions.

New weather research focuses on so-called hole punch and canal clouds that form when planes fly through certain mid-level clouds, forcing nearby air to rapidly expand and cool. This causes water droplets to freeze to ice and then turn to snow as they fall toward the ground, leaving behind odd-shaped gaps in the clouds.

Researchers used satellite images and weather forecasting computer models to examine how often this type of inadvertent cloud seeding may occur within 62 miles of six commercial airports: London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Charles De Gaulle (Paris), Seattle-Tacoma, O’Hare (Chicago), and Yellowknife (Northwest Territories, Canada), as well as Byrd Station in Antarctica. They found that, depending on the airport and type of plane, the right atmospheric conditions typically exist up to 6% of the time, with somewhat more frequency in colder climates.

Let's face it--our weather is getting terrible, no matter WHERE we live! In 1998, Whitley Strieber had never heard of climate change, but the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all about it. The new edition of The Key, with a foreword that talks about how many of his statements later turned out to be true, is in bookstores NOW.




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