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Wednesday April 17, 2024

Mystery solved: This is why clouds disappear during a solar eclipse

As clouds are reflective of sunlight, they serve as a cooling agent for the Earth

By Web Desk
April 01, 2024
Why do clouds disappear during an eclipse? — AFP/File
Why do clouds disappear during an eclipse? — AFP/File

Few spectacular events in nature can be compared with the Moon's eclipsing of the Sun that turns our world into a spotty shadow in a matter of seconds during which the clouds usually disappear even under the Sun's 15% blotching.

Victor Trees, in the lead of a group from the KNMI and the Delft University of Technology, concentrated on the vanishing of shallow cumulus clouds over land during Solar eclipses.

This discovery as mentioned by trees is a harbinger for climate engineering.

Restriction of sunlight, an upcoming solution to counteract climate change, however, may also inadvertently reduce cloud cover.

This is because the clouds reflect sun rays that have the effect of cooling the earth.

It is not easy to understand clouds' behaviour during an eclipse using Earth’s surface as a vantage point. This team managed to tackle this issue by considering the shadow of the Moon in satellite calculations of cloud top reflectivity.

The disappearance of cumulus clouds while only 15% of the Sun is obscured, and the reappearance of them after the eclipse is over becomes the unexpected part.

The simulations involved making use of cloud modelling software to clarify the phenomena. When sunbeam is diverted, the surface will be cold thus weakening required warm air updrafts for cumulus cloud formation.

This phenomenon occurs over the land and changes the weather pattern while the ocean remains unharmed.

Cumulus clouds, arguably the most important players when it comes to weather patterns, may be affected by climate geoengineering with the ensuing discussion on the next course of action for the scientific community.

The research, which brought out the relationship between those involves, was published in Communications Earth & Environment.