“Rain forest sweat -needed for rain”

Aerosol particles effect our climate climate changes, but Dr. Markus Petters, an NC State assistant professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences and his team, traveled to the Amazon rainforest in a remote area of Brazil as part of a team that wanted to study how a rainforest behaved in the absence of any anthropogenic, or human, influence.

Does the rain forest also produced some type of atmospheric aerosol particles that play an important role in the world’s climate system?

Aerosol particles act as seeds for cloud formation and attract water molecules to them that then condense inside clouds. Some of these particles – about one in a million – form ice crystals inside the clouds, which initiate rainfall.

In areas populated by humans, pollution serves as an additional source for these particles. In a pristine area such as the Amazon, where pollution is not a factor, the researchers found that the rainforest itself acted as a biogeochemical reactor, producing “fuel” for the rainclouds from organic molecules emitted by trees, as well as other biological matter such as plant debris, bacteria and pollen.

“The trees basically ‘sweat out’ organic molecules that react with compounds in the atmosphere, producing tiny particles that are around 20 to 200 nanometers in size,” Petters says. “These particles seed the clouds. In addition, other biological particles form the ice nuclei for the clouds.”


Excerpts courtesy of   http://bit.ly/cDWtbh


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