Sulfate aerosols cool climate less than assumed

Sulfur dioxide is as antagonist of greenhouse gases less effective than previously assumed. It forms sulfate aerosol particles in the air, which reflect sunlight, and as so-called cloud condensation nuclei influence the chemical processes within clouds. Therefore, sulfate aerosol particles help to cool the earth, making them an important factor in climate models. However, a team around researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry found out that it is likely most models overestimate the cooling effect of these particles. The reason is a largely disregarded reaction pathway catalysed by mineral dust within clouds, which has a strong influence on the life span of sulfate aerosol particles and their ability to reflect sunlight.


Read more: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft