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Earth/Environment

Airplanes knock rain from the sky, plus a quick-melting glacier and BPA's diabetes link in this week's news

By
3:28pm, July 2, 2011

Sky holes
Airplanes taking off and landing at airports may be affecting the very weather around them. When a plane flies through a cloud containing supercooled water, which is liquid despite being below water’s freezing point, the plane triggers the water to turn to ice crystals and fall out as snow or rain. Such supercooled clouds might exist around U.S. airports some 5 to 6 percent of the time, scientists led by Andrew Heymsfield of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., report in the July 1 Science. —Alexandra Witze


Glacier melt
Ocean currents are scouring Antarctica’s floating Pine Island Glacier from below, causing it to melt ever faster. American and British scientists measured the temperature and saltiness of water around the glacier and found that since 1994 the amount of meltwater coming off the ice has increased by 50 percent. Pine Island is the fastest-shr

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