—Tiny pollutant particles strengthen thunderstorms “Scientists find that long-ignored ultrafine aerosols can make storms rainier and windier” Researchers studying thunderstorms in the Amazon rain forest have found that tiny pollution particles—each about one-ten thousandth the size of the period at the end of this sentence—can boost the power of storms (Science 2018, DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8461). Sulfates, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and other molecules can conglomerate into these ultrafine aerosol particles (UAPs), which are less than 50 nm across. Scientists have long known that aerosol particles larger than 50 nm serve as seeds for cloud formation, but most researchers have discounted the role of UAPs in storm clouds because they thought the particles were too small to nucleate water droplets from moisture in the air.
by Sam Lemonick |
February 05, 2018