PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

Clouds resolved

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Science  02 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6256, pp. 40-41
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad1386

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Summary

The pillowing structure and filamentary detail of clouds has inspired many paintings as well as associations to down pillows. Turbulence is at the source of this beauty. It affects aerosol-cloud droplet interaction, cloud particle collisions and merging, and entrainment and mixing of environmental air with clouds (1, 2). These microphysical processes are important for predicting weather and climate (3). Yet it has remained very difficult to observe clouds at the temporal and spatial scales required to gain understanding of these processes. On page 87 of this issue, Beals et al. (4) show that the filamentary structure of entrainment and mixing reaches to the centimeter scale in a cloud.