Sunday, January 02, 2011

Michigan Tech scientists to probe secrets of clouds

By Marcia Goodrich, Michigan Tech senior writer

HOUGHTON -- Clouds play a crucial part in regulating climate, but precious little is actually known about their inner workings and their role on Earth. A group of scientists hopes to change that, thanks to a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant provides the lion's share of the funding for a chamber that will allow researchers to study cloud processes under realistic temperatures, pressures, and humidity levels -- mimicking conditions from sea level to the lower levels of the stratosphere, where jet planes fly.

The chamber, to be located in the Great Lakes Research Center, won't be built until later in 2011, but lead investigator Raymond Shaw expects it will be in the shape of a cylinder, two meters in diameter and one meter high.

"With a volume of pi, we have taken to calling it the pi can," says Shaw, a professor of physics. ...

Read the rest of this article on Tech Today.

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