Volume 92 Issue 13 | pp. 32-33
Issue Date: March 31, 2014

Cover Stories: Instrument Makers Set Confident Tone

Probing Aerosols One By One

Methods reveal the chemistry of individual sea spray and mineral dust aerosol particles
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Sustainability
News Channels: Environmental SCENE, JACS In C&EN
Keywords: climate, aerosol, atmospheric chemistry

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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