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Aerosols Impact Cloud Formation

Aerosols are complex particles; they occur in nature and can also be generated by human activity. One important new area of aerosol research involves how aerosols impact clouds. Without aerosols, clouds could not exist. Aerosol particles serve as condensation nuclei for water vapor in the atmosphere. Atmospheric water molecules are drawn to aerosol particles like magnets, forming water droplets and eventually creating a cloud. The introduction of a larger number of aerosols will modify cloud's natural properties, leading to an accumulation of water droplets that are smaller in size but greater in number. Clouds play an important role in regulating Earth's climate; aerosol-rich air masses generate clouds that are bigger, brighter, and longer lasting.
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More information on this topic available at:
http://glory.gsfc.nasa.gov

This animation shows how a cloud is formed on the particle-level. Water droplets and black soot carbon aerosols mix in the air. Water droplets cling to aerosol particles, creating a larger water droplet. The droplet becomes very large and 'pops' into smaller water droplets, each with an aerosol particle inside, thus creating a cloud.    This animation shows how a cloud is formed on the particle-level. Water droplets and black soot carbon aerosols mix in the air. Water droplets cling to aerosol particles, creating a larger water droplet. The droplet becomes very large and 'pops' into smaller water droplets, each with an aerosol particle inside, thus creating a cloud.
Duration: 49.0 seconds
Available formats:
  960x540     WEBM         9 MB
  1280x720   Frames (Black Soot Carbon)
  512x288     MPEG-1   20 MB
  1280x720   QT         147 MB
  960x720     MPEG-4   24 MB
  640x360     MPEG-4   7 MB
  320x180     MPEG-4   2 MB
  320x180     PNG           96 KB
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Animation of ocean salt acting as cloud condensation nuclei.    Animation of ocean salt acting as cloud condensation nuclei.
Duration: 50.0 seconds
Available formats:
  960x540     WEBM         9 MB
  1280x720   Frames (Sea Salt)
  512x288     MPEG-1   9 MB
  1280x720   QT         113 MB
  960x720     MPEG-4   22 MB
  640x360     MPEG-4   7 MB
  320x180     MPEG-4   3 MB
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Close-up of black soot particle and water droplets.    Close-up of black soot particle and water droplets.

Available formats:
  4000 x 2250     TIFF     25 MB


Close-up of water droplets condensing on ocean salt particles.    Close-up of water droplets condensing on ocean salt particles.

Available formats:
  4000 x 2250     TIFF     25 MB

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10387
Animation Number:10387
Completed:2009-02-19
Animator:Megan Willy (IRC/UMBC) (Lead)
Producer:Maria Frostic (UMBC)
Scientist:Michael Mishchenko (NASA/GSFC GISS)
Goddard TV Tape:G2008-047 -- Glory Resource Reel
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
 
Keywords:
SVS >> Aerosols
DLESE >> Atmospheric science
SVS >> Clouds
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Ocean
SVS >> Soot
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Aerosols >> Cloud Condensation Nuclei
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Atmosphere >> Atmospheric Water Vapor >> Water Vapor
SVS >> Glory
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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