Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
A mist or fog of minute water droplets that temporarily surrounds the fireball following a nuclear (or atomic) detonation in a comparatively humid atmosphere. The expansion of the air inthe negative phase of the blast wave from the explosion results in a lowering of the temperature, so that condensation of water vapor present in the air occurs and a cloud forms. The cloud is soon dispelled when the pressure returns to normal and the air warms up again. The phenomenon is similar to that used by physicists in the Wilson cloud chamber and is sometimes called the cloud chamber effect.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.