Once in a blue moon, Facebook really pays off. A friend linked to The Verge net neutrality article. It was good. Then I had time to browse around The Verge. Almost immediately I found this cloud article - which led to The Cloud Appreciation Society. I LOVE clouds. I learned about the basic Cumulus, Nimbus, Stratus, Cirrus in Girl Scouts. And I've always wondered about them.
So, I set off on a cloud search which led to The Royal Meteorological Society. Turns out, Brits take clouds rather more seriously than we do. But then there was NASA's The Importance of Understanding Clouds where I learned that the key ingredients of clouds are water vapor and aerosols.
I thought aerosols were the enemy. So, I clicked on Atmospheric Aerosols: What Are They, and Why Are They So Important? As I had surmised from context in the Clouds article, they are minute particles in the atmosphere. And they're important because they interact directly and indirectly with the Earth's energy budget.
I don't know why it had never occurred to me that the earth has an energy budget. Of the 340 watts per square meter of solar energy that falls on the Earth, 29% is reflected back into space, about 23% is absorbed in the atmosphere and the remaining 48% is absorbed at the surface of the Earth. NASA always capitalizes "Earth." I guess that's another thing I should have known.
At this point I'm seriously nibbling at the edges of climate change and I'm adding links to my toolbar at an alarming rate. I paused to find something wrote about clouds a long time ago. I searched my blog for clouds and sure enough - there was this great picture of an iridescent cloud. As I was scanning the other articles the search listed, I realized I didn't remember most of the things I wrote here. And I remembered how much I used to enjoy writing them. And what a great place this is to collect links and ideas.