Issue Date: March 31, 2014
Probing Aerosols One By One
Aerosols are the wild cards of climate models. They reflect sunlight back into space, they absorb radiation, and they seed clouds. Climate scientists think that aerosols have a net cooling effect, but the uncertainties in the estimates are so large that no one really knows for sure. Because of the number of variables involved, climate models call for simplifying assumptions, sometimes leading scientists to ignore the chemistry of aerosol particles.
Atmospheric scientists want to know . . .
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