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Discovery of Microbursts Leads to Safer Air Travel

Microburst caught on film

A gust front photographed in South Florida during the Florida Area Cumulus Experiment.

Credit: NOAA, Irv Watson


Illustration of an aircraft and microbursts

Research by NCAR and collaborators in the 1980s uncovered the deadly one-two punch of microbursts: aircraft level off when they encounter headwinds, then find themselves pushed to the ground by intense downdrafts and tailwinds.

Credit: University Corporation for Atmospheric Research