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Study untangles role of pollution, smoke on thunderclouds

Both smoke and pollution put particles in the air, and clouds need these tiny airborne particles to form. But according to a new study, human-made pollution and smoke from fires don’t have the same effect on cloud formation.  The study, published September 24, 2018 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications, looked specifically at deep convective clouds – tall clouds like thunderclouds. Thunderclouds form when warm air containing water vapor rises until it cools and starts to condense onto tiny particles in the air called aerosols.  The study found that that while smoky air makes it harder for these clouds to grow, pollution energizes their growth, but only if the pollution isn’t heavy. Read more...

 

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