Hailstones

Hailstones

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Credit: ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hailstones. Hailstones are particles of ice which fall from cumulonimbus clouds. They are roughly spherical and are often composed of concentric layers of clear and opaque ice. This structure is thought to be the result of the stone travelling up & down within the cloud during its formation. Opaque layers are deposited in the upper, colder parts of the cloud, where the water droplets are small and freeze rapidly, forming a layer of ice with numerous air enclosures. In the warmer, lower parts of the cloud, the water droplets spread over the stone's surface before freezing, so that little air is trapped and the ice is transparent.

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Keywords: climate, hailstone, ice, meteorology, weather

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