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is the study of cloud
A cloud is a visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water and/or various chemicals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body. They are also known as aerosols. Clouds in Earth's atmosphere are studied in the cloud physics branch of meteorology...
s and cloud formation. British meteorologist Luke Howard
Luke Howard FRS was a British manufacturing chemist and an amateur meteorologist with broad interests in science...
was a major researcher within this field, establishing a cloud classification system.
While this branch of meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...
still exists today, the term nephology, or nephologist is rarely used. The term came into use at the end of the nineteenth century, and fell out of common use by the middle of the twentieth.
Recently, interest in nephology (if not the name) has surged as many meteorologists have begun to focus on the relationship between clouds and global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...
Some nephologists believe that an increase in global temperature could decrease the thickness and brightness
Brightness is an attribute of visual perception in which a source appears to be radiating or reflecting light. In other words, brightness is the perception elicited by the luminance of a visual target...
(ability to reflect light energy), which would further increase global temperature. Recently research has been going on at CERN
The European Organization for Nuclear Research , known as CERN , is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world's largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border...
Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets or the CLOUD is an experimental facility being run at CERN by Jasper Kirkby to investigate the microphysics between galactic cosmic rays and aerosols under controlled conditions...
facility to study the effects of the solar cycle
The solar cycle, or the solar magnetic activity cycle, is a periodic change in the amount of irradiation from the Sun that is experienced on Earth. It has a period of about 11 years, and is one component of solar variation, the other being aperiodic fluctuations. Solar variation causes changes in...
and cosmic rays on cloud formation.