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No. 18: Nov-Dec 1981

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Giant Thunderstorm Clusters

Conventional wisdom has it that thunderstorms are small-scale phenomena 50100 miles across. However, J.M. Fritsch and R.A. Maddox of NOAA have announced that satellite photos show a radically different situation. The more violent thundersotrms are often organized into roughly circular clusters that may span 1000 miles. Previously, all thunderstorms were considered local convective storms that were regulated by upper air patterns. This view must now be changed because the newly recognized giant thunderstorm clusters actually modify planetary upper air flow.

(Bardwell, Steven; "Satellite Data Show New Class of Thunderstorms," Fusion Magazine, p. 50, September 1981.)

Comment. In SF#17, cosmic rays were shown to contribute to thunderstorm generation. Now it seems that cosmic rays may affect weather on a planetary scale.

From Science Frontiers #18, NOV-DEC 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss