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Blowin' in the Wind, Issue #072 Time for some frosty air - Nov 1, 2009
December 30, 2009
What Is Frosty Air?
Frost is one of the things we associate with cold frosty air. It's actually what happens when a solid surface, like your window, cools down below the dew point of the air next to it. The size of frost crystals depends on how much water is in the air and how long the frost has to form. Low lying areas and shaded areas will form frost more quickly. This process can cause damage to plants outdoors, so many farmers cover their crops when a frost is expected. The first frost is a common sign of autumn.
Why Do We Love Autumn?Not everyone loves the fall season - many associate it with depression and melancholy moods. However, a lot of people do love this season, when the heat leaves the air and the leaves begin to change colors. We often see autumn personified as a pretty woman dressed in leaves and carrying harvest vegetables. For a long time, this has been the season when the best and most produce is available. Autumn is a time of beautiful surroundings, lush abundance, and harvest festivals. In North America, it's also the time when Halloween occurs, a holiday that many kids and adults look forwards to. It's also a period when the air pollution articles starts to feel crisp and cold, a sensation many people appreciate.
What Does Cold Air Do In Our Lungs?We've all seen frosty air come out of our lungs as a visible fog. This mostly happens when it's below about forty degrees outside, but any significant temperature difference can cause "frosty breath." When you can see your breath as it leaves your body, you're seeing the visible water vapor that forms when warm, moist air enters a fold space. The droplets of water condense because of breathing cold air and losing the energy that causes them to remain a gas. They form a denser, lower energy state – liquid water. In temperatures that are only relatively cold, this is harmless, but when it gets very cold, it can cause harm.
In sub zero temperatures, it can be hard to catch your breath - almost like suffering asthma. You can shock your lungs and find the muscles in your chest and throat tightening up, so that you can't breathe. People who already have lung conditions may discover that their muscles are more sensitive. Fortunately, there's an easy method to do it. Just breathe through your nose. This warms the air before it hits your chest and throat, and prevents the muscles from tightening up and any phlegm from thickening, making it easier to breathe.
Is The Earth Getting Colder?You might have heard that we're suffering from global cooling, not global warming. Is there any truth to this? Global cooling was a popular theory among some people in the 1970s. There had been a slight tendency for temperatures to be lower in the middle of the twentieth century, and people were worried that a new Ice Age was on its way. However, analysis of the data now tells us that global cooling is highly unlikely. The action of sulphate-based aerosols and other chemicals had briefly and artificially cooled the earth, but the effects were not permanent. When these aerosols went out of use, they stopped posing a problem, and the cooling ceased. It is more likely that the earth and atmosphere are warming, not becoming colder.
Not necessarily yielding more frosty air.
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