Rutgers climatologist publishes paper about clouds in ‘The Scream’ painting

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A New Jersey scientist has published a paper which offers a new interpretation of a famous painting.

Rutgers University climatologist Adam Robock and a colleague at Oxford University recently published “The Sky in Edvard Munch’s The Scream.”

The 1894 painting features a humanoid figure with its mouth wide open in a screaming fashion. There’s an orange sky in the background. The painting is widely interpreted to depict the aftermath of a volcanic eruption.

“Most people look at that and look at the face,” Robock says. “I look at the sky.”

Robock says that the sky in the painting may actually depict something called nacreous or Mother of Pearl clouds, which is an aurora-like phenomenon visible from southern Norway in the winter.

Robock’s paper states that the person in the painting may not be screaming about an imminent disaster, but something else going on inside their own mind.

Robock admits that he is not an art professor, but a scientist who usually focuses on climate and nuclear disasters.

“I spend a lot of my time trying to determine what would happen in the event of a nuclear war and how climate would change, so I can warn the world against ever using nuclear weapons,” he says.

“The Scream” sold for a record $120 million in 2012.

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