What is radiational cooling?

Storm Team Academy

Our coldest nights are when we have a clear sky and a calm wind. Why does this happen?

It’s called radiational cooling.

During the day solar radiation heats the ground. At night that heat escapes back towards space.

If there are clouds in the sky, the clouds will act like a blanket and re-emit some of that heat back to the surface. This will keep the temperatures from falling off too much at night.

If the sky is clear and there’s little to no wind, the radiation escapes into the space which makes the temperatures at night cooler. It can get even colder if you have any snow on the ground too.

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