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Don’t get in a ‘Twister’ in the heat. We have some ‘Fab’ news for you.

Ice lollies in the clouds might sound like something only found in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but you might be surprised to learn that a similar occurrence has been observed in UK cloud systems.

Scientists have discovered millimetre-long ice formations shaped like lollies, created by humid air rising through clouds. The cold water droplets created in this process then collide to form stick-shaped ice particles. The team from the University of Manchester have recently published findings from two research flights (one in 2009 and the second in 2016) that were carried out with onboard probes.

So far, the sightings of the lolly ice particles have been limited and scientists are eager to see if the phenomenon is more wide spread. Stavros Keppas, phD student working on the project, believes that now the altitude at which the ‘lollies’ form, has been identified, the process of finding more in different cloud regions should be easier.

Geographers would be prudent to ponder further how these newly discovered ice particles are formed. Natural science applicants should examine the impact of this new occurrence on our climate system.

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