Weather in Space

Meteors, Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets

Can smaller asteroids and comets affect the weather?

Certainly. It doesn’t take a huge impact for an extraterrestrial body to influence the planet’s delicate weather balance. Smaller impacts could still throw up a considerable amount of dust, comparable to a large volcano exploding. It doesn’t take a very large asteroid to do the trick, either. Scientists now estimate that the object that hit Tunguska, Russia, may have been as small as 65 feet (20 meters) in diameter.

But an asteroid or meteorite doesn’t even have to hit the Earth to affect our weather. In 2005, scientists announced that asteroids burning up in the atmosphere leave behind trails of micron-sized particles that could increase cloud formation, increase precipitation, and cool temperatures.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Weather Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App