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The analysis of the properties of clouds is aimed at understanding their evolution and development. In particular this work hopes to improve rainfall prediction techniques.

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There’s a Change in Rain Around Desert Cities (July 2006)

11 October 2006

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A study using NASA satellite data and weather records show the urban heat island effect, pollution, irrigation and population changes alter rainfall in desert cities. Urban areas with high concentrations of buildings, roads and other artificial surface soak up heat, lead to warmer surrounding temperatures, and create "urban heat-islands." This increased heat may promote rising air and alter the weather around cities. Human activities such as land use, additional aerosols and irrigation in these arid urban environments also affect the entire water cycle as well.

Although the urban heat-island effect has been known to affect large cities such as Atlanta and Houston, effects on arid cities such as Phoenix, Ariz. and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia were relatively unknown. These cities both experienced explosive population growth.

A study by J. Marshall Shepherd, a climatologist at the University of Georgia, Athens, used a unique 108-year-old data record and data from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, to examine arid cities' rainfall patterns.

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