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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987