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Material scientists in Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory in collaboration with atmospheric chemistry scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are investigating changes on mineral dust aerosols during laboratory simulated cloud processing using advanced characterization techniques. This image is of Kaolinite mineral dust aerosols coated with sulphuric acid. This work is developing a deeper understanding of atmospheric aerosols at atomic scale and thus reduce the largest uncertainty in climate models. Mineral dust aerosols in clouds nucleate ice crystals at the best conditions of humidity and temperature which are the precursor to rain and snowfall we receive every year. However if these clouds pass through polluted atmosphere with high concentration of sulphates and nitrates, these dust aerosol particles react with the pollutants and they undergo chemical and physical changes, which make them less effective in nucleating ice crystals, reducing the chance of rain and snow. This research is advancing the understanding the changes in chemistry and structure of aerosols as a function of cloud processing to better understand their effect on global climate.

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Document Title: Polluted Aerosols
Category: Science as Art
Media Type: Photos
Date of Image/Photo:
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URL of this page: http://picturethis.pnl.gov/picturet.nsf/by+id/DRAE-,2H47V

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