Science at Brookhaven National Laboratory doesn’t just happen in the lab. Sometimes, experiments are run from unlikely places, like a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean.
As part of a yearlong climate research experiment called MAGIC, Brookhaven-designed meteorological and atmospheric instruments will cruise aboard a Horizon Lines container ship that makes a roundtrip journey from Los Angeles to Hawaii every two weeks. The team running the experiment will ride along, taking data on the ways clouds transition between different their types, like stratocumulus and cumulus.
Atmospheric scientist Ernie Lewis sent us these photos from the installation aboard the ship, and he’s writing diary-style updates on the cruise to answer cool questions like: How fast do raindrops fall? What’s the difference between a cloud drop and a raindrop? How do we measure the size of raindrops falling from above? But we don’t just get fun cloud trivia out of this. The experiment will attempt to improve our understanding of climate change and potentially lead to more accurate weather forecasts.