How Do You Catch a Cloud? You Make it Rain!

That is essentially how AMC has been collecting cloud water near our Lakes of the Clouds Hut on Mount Washington since the early 1980s. The cloud passes into our “cloud catcher” box and the moisture in the cloud hits a set of strings and “rains” out into a collection bottle below. Clouds are an important way that acids and other pollution, such as nitrogen, enter mountain ecosystems impacting the land, forests, and waters. In fact, more than 60 percent of the moisture coming into mountain forests is via clouds, not rain. AMC’s cloud and rain chemistry measurements are unique, providing the only long-term high-elevation precipitation chemistry measurements in New England.

AMC has found significant declines in cloud and rain acidity from summertime measurements at the Lakes of the Clouds site. Acidity levels in precipitation at both high and lower elevations are improving due to Clean Air Act programs that have curbed pollution from power plants and automobiles. AMC scientists and colleagues have published a summary of our findings in a peer reviewed journal this month (view abstract). You can also learn more by viewing this video about our cloud catching work >>

Labels: ,