Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


CLaSP researcher first author on new atmospheric aerosols paper in Nature Communication

Posted: January 25, 2019

CLaSP researcher first author on new atmospheric aerosols paper in Nature Communication

Climate & Space researcher Jialei Zhu is first author on a new paper on the subject of atmospheric aerosols published yesterday in Nature Communications. Prof. Joyce Penner and Research Prof. Emeritus Sandford Sillman are co-authors on the paper. 

From the paper: 

"Aerosols play a key role in determining the Earth’s radiation budget, both directly by absorbing and scattering radiation and indirectly by altering the albedo of clouds. The effects of aerosols on climate constitute the largest uncertainty in the current understanding of climate change. Climate and land use change contribute to this uncertainty by causing changes in biogenic volatile organic carbon (BVOC) emissions that form secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles. SOA often represents a major fraction of submicron-sized atmospheric organic aerosol and dominates ambient aerosol in tropical and remote regions.

"Nucleation of atmospheric vapors is the largest source of atmospheric aerosol number concentration, and is thought to contribute to up to half of the global cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Most models only use a particle formation rate based on the concentration of sulfuric acid. However, these models fail to reproduce nucleation rates in ambient observations with a low concentration of sulfuric acid. Recently, highly oxygenated molecules (HOMs) with extremely low volatility were shown by experiments in the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving Out-door Droplets) project to be able to form new particles even in the absence of sulfuric acid and to drive initial particle growth. Ion-induced nucleation of pure organic particles is expected to be a potentially widespread source of new aerosol particles in pristine regions as well as in the preindustrial (PI) atmosphere."

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