Welcome to the Monthly Mailbag, AtmoLife’s newest feature where we let you crank that #content wheel for us.

AtmoLife has been mostly absent from blogging this month, and I realized yesterday, on the penultimate day of May, that we had yet to conduct a proper mailbag, and it was in great haste that we reached out to y’all for questions.

Likewise, it is in great haste that we have answered your questions. Sorry.

To examine if the change in equivalent potential temperature with respect to change in pressure (vertically I assume), which we express as ΔΘe/ΔP, has any bearing on cloud cover, let’s first review the concept of equivalent potential temperature (Θe).

Our pals over at UCAR define Θas “the temperature a sample of air would have if all its moisture were condensed out by a pseudo-adiabatic process (i.e., with the latent heat of condensation being used to heat the air sample), and the sample then brought dry-adiabatically back to 1000 hPa.”


In their skew-t example, they trace through the steps of calculating Θe: 1) Raise a parcel dry adiabatically until its saturated, 2) Continue raising the parcel at the moist adiabatic lapse rate until that rate converges with the dry adiabatic lapse rate, 3) descend the parcel at the dry adiabatic lapse rate until it reaches 1000 hPa.

While ΔΘe/ΔP is commonly used to measure stability, I have yet to see it applied toward indicating the presence of clouds, so let’s take a crack at it.

We know that cloud exists when a parcel is saturated (T = Td). This allows us to skip step 1 when calculating Θe throughout the vertical layer of the cloud. In theory, the environmental lapse rate within the cloud should follow closely with the moist adiabatic lapse rate, especially in deeply convected cumuliform clouds where the adiabatic process likely outweighs other influences (i.e. diabatic heating/cooling) on the environmental profile. In this case, all vertical points within the cloud would yield similar Θe values, and therefore a ΔΘe/ΔP equal to 0.

I am uncertain however, of how often the vertical environmental profiles of cloud layers actually closely reflect the moist adiabatic lapse rate. (If you know of any research on this, it would be great to share in the comments!) In addition, ΔΘe/ΔP can also equal 0 when no cloud is present. Lets assume the skew-t above not only shows the lifting of the parcel, but is also the environmental temperature and dewpoint profile, which just so happen to align perfectly with the lapse rates and mixing ratio respectively. Different points below the cloud base would yield the same Θe despite being dry air. In my opinion, identifying points in a sounding where T = Td is a much simpler and more precise way to identify cloud cover.

The short answer: We’re considering it.

The full answer: ICYMI, last month we created a meteorology twitter account intended for everyone to use (i.e. we tweeted the password). The account devolved into glorious chaos in a matter of minutes, but a barrage of NSFW images required an abrupt shutdown. Our experiment yielded plenty of fans as well as critics.

To our fans: We’d love to restart @publicwx, since it sounds like y’all had as much fun with it as we did. My hesitance to give it another try isn’t the criticism we received, but rather a personal preference to not repeat the same experiment. If we give @publicwx another try, it’s going to be different somehow, although I’m not sure yet what that new twist would be. One thing is certain however: If @publicwx is reborn, we plan to make it a complete surprise to you all again.

To our critics: If you thought we were idiots for attempting our @publicwx experiment, your grievance fell into one of two categories: “What did you think was going to happen?” or “You knew that was going to happen and you did it anyway.” As the latter complainant alludes, those in the former category should know that our results aligned with exactly what we expected. Those in latter category make a stronger case, because yeah, we’re not proud of those NSFW images that got published on our watch. We hope you at least enjoyed the other aspects of the chaos.

Boneless wings and chicken nuggets are technically distinct foods, but their close relationship can be defined by the following formula:

(1) Boneless wing = chicken nugget + sauce*

*The sauce must completely envelop the battered portion of the chicken in order for the food item to be considered a boneless wing. If the sauce covers <100% of said portion, the food item is simply a chicken nugget dipped in sauce. A chicken nugget can become a boneless wing if sauce is applied to 100% of its surface before the batter encasement is damaged in any form (i.e. bitten into, cut with a knife, etc.).

The meat itself however, is indistinguishable between chicken nuggets and boneless wings, which is observed in the following mathematical proof:

(2) MEAT(boneless wing) = MEAT(chicken nugget + sauce*)

(3) MEAT(chicken nugget + sauce*) = chicken nugget

(4) MEAT(chicken nugget) = chicken nugget

(5) MEAT(boneless wing) = MEAT(chicken nugget)

We define our MEAT function used in equations (2-5) as all parts of a boneless wing or chicken nugget that are not sauce. Through this definition, equation 5 is still precise, but we must note that the MEAT function itself is an inexact approximation of the actual meat content. In addition to meat, chicken nuggets contain batter and sometimes meat glue.

On a tangential note, these enzyme-based adhesives are never found in bone-in wings, which by definition, are one distinct piece of chicken, specifically the wing of the chicken from which the name “chicken wing” is derived. To compare the quality of chicken wings with chicken nuggets, we apply the following equations:

(6) chicken wing = meat + meat glue * x

(7) chicken nugget = meat + meat glue * y

(8) x = 0

(9) y > 0, y <1

(10) meat = good

(11) meat glue = bad

(12) chicken wing = good

(13) chicken nugget = good + bad * y

(14) MEAT QUALITY(z) = zgood/z

(15) MEAT QUALITY(chicken wing) = 1

(16) MEAT QUALITY(chicken nugget) < 1

Therefore bone-in wings are objectively superior to boneless wings. This is not an opinion. This is science.