When smoke column goes up from the chimney, it quickly becomes deformed. However, cumulus clouds with a similar structure are not deformed within their long trip high in the sky. Now scientists say, they know the secret. A smoke column consists of quickly rotating airflows, that engulf the ambient air. This air disperses smoke. Earlier investigations demonstrated, cloud’s dispersion stability depended on the engulf as well, but no factors influencing the process were revealed at that.
A scientist from India created a computer model of a cloud to find out the factors. He found out, circular areas inside air whirls emit heat as soon as moisture condenses inside them. The emitting heat makes the circular areas turn quicker, that entails reduction of the air engulfed by the cloud. The discovery will make weather forecasts more precise (for example, a cloud that engulfs more air is more likely to rain), improve work on forest fire prevention and other kinds of air pollution.