The formation of strange clouds in the high atmosphere over remote Antarctica may seem to be of little practical interest–but that would be incorrect. Researchers studying NLCs have discovered unexpected teleconnections between these clouds and weather patterns thousands of miles away. Two years ago, for instance, Randall and colleagues found that the winter air temperature in many northern US cities was well correlated with the frequency of noctilucent clouds over Antarctica. Understanding how these long-distance connections work could improve climate models and weather forecasting–all the more reason to study eerily beautiful NLCs.
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