Monday, May 18, 2009

Advecting and Mixing Space Shuttle Plume at Sunset

Note the inset detail showing where ice particles have grown large enough to fall from the cloud layer.  This phenomenon, called virga, indicates that ice particles in the plume are growing to a critical size.  This might be removing ozone destroying nitrogen compounds (called denitrifying) the tropopause region since we know that the solid rocket motor alumina particles carry HNO3.   

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