Every winter for the last few years there have been reports of blocks of ice mysteriously falling from the sky. Many of them are large enough to crash through the roofs of houses. People have accused airplanes of emptying chemical toilets while in flight (which they don't do), but the truth is, this is yet another symptom of global warming.
Contrails from airplanes remain in the atmosphere longer these days, because the lower atmosphere is retaining more heat, making the upper atmosphere colder. Also, gigantic hailstones occur when cloud tops reach extreme heights, and hit the cold air above the stratosphere. Pieces of these icy clouds and contrails fall through the atmosphere, getting bigger and bigger as they fall.
Spain is one of the first countries to study this phenomenon. They call the giant blocks of ice that fall from the sky "megacryometeors." In the Toledo Blade, Michael Woods quotes astrobiologist Jesus Martinez-Frias as saying, "I'm not worried that a block of ice may fall on your head. I'm worried that great blocks of ice are forming where they shouldn't exist."
Most of the megacryometeors that have been found weigh 25 to 35 pounds, but one found in Brazil weighed 440 pounds. Last year, in ice block "half the size of a car" crashed through the roof of an automobile dealership in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Martinez-Frias became interested in the phenomena in January 2000, after ice chunks weighing up to 6.6 pounds crashed down from cloudless skies in Spain for 10 days. Most ice blocks fall in January, February and March.
Atmospheric researcher David Travis says, "If megacryometeor formation is linked to global warming, as we suspect, then it is fair to assume that these events may increase in the future?I am anxiously waiting to see what will happen this winter. We'll be keeping a lookout, and we want to make people in every state aware and ask their help. We strongly encourage eyewitnesses to preserve samples, in a freezer if need be, and contact us."
Keep an eye on the sky this winter?and be prepared to duck. See the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" this winter, based on Whitley and Art Bell's book.
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