About this course
Splash made by a swimmer
Liquid water is white at the interfaces of water and air when there is turbulence.
Wave crests, breaking waves, waterfalls, the wake of ships and boats, river whitewater, water splashes, and water jets are all examples of turbulent water/air interfaces.
Agitated water at the air interface encourages aeration of liquid water with air bubbles.
Ginger ale bubbles
It does not have to be air molecules. Any gas that does not absorb light has the capacity to create bubbles that are white.
Shaking a can of soda will create a mass of white CO2 bubbles.
In other words, churning water creates environments where air bubbles and water mix together.
The gasses within air (Nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide) do not absorb light.
Light gets refracted (bounced around) in the different interfaces between liquid and gas.
It is the disorganization of those interfaces - a mass of bubbles - that prevents light from making its way through.
Since none of the light is absorbed and some of it is reflected back to us; we see the mass of bubbles as white.
This module is about water, both in liquid and frozen state.
The feature image shows the whiteness of water when it is ice, bubbling down a waterfall, and snow.
Frozen ice, snow and waterfall on the Ottauquechee River.
Taken from the Queeche covered bridge, Jan 2020.
Fog with its ghostly cold fingers.
If fog is made of water droplets. How is it so murky?
Because the defining characteristic for fog is not liquid water, but water vapor.
tracyshaun. blanket of fog pouring over the headlands.
Flickr photo-sharing. Taken Oct 29, 2008.
Clouds are my favorite structure.
They are so diverse.
And, yet, there is a common meaning to them that links them together.
Chris Harrison. Clouds. Flickr.
Taken on June 15, 2010.
Fog and clouds develop in different ways.
Nimbus clouds have dark layers on their underside.
Why are clouds brilliantly white?
Cloud shapes are as variable as the air, the wind, and the water vapor molecules that mix and match in the Troposphere.
The cumulonimbus and the nimbostratus: Lots and lots of water vapor.
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