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Earth

Noctilucent Clouds Likely Caused By Shuttle Launches 132

icebike writes "In our recent discussion of the phenomenon of noctilucent clouds, there was some suggestions that these might be the product of global warming due to moisture being lofted high into the atmosphere. It now appears that these clouds are simply the product of Shuttle launches. In a story about the Tunguska blast, Science News says: 'Each launch of a space shuttle, which burns a combination of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as fuel, pumps about 300 metric tons of water vapor into the atmosphere at altitudes between 100 and 115 kilometers. Soon after the January 16, 2003, launch of the shuttle Columbia, a liftoff that took place just after the height of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, noctilucent clouds appeared over Antarctica. Similarly, a widespread display of the night-shining clouds showed up over Alaska two days after the shuttle Endeavour blasted off on August 8, 2007. Previous studies show that in both instances those clouds included material from the shuttle plumes.' So, man-made after all?"

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