Cloud and Aerosol Research

Aerosols and clouds are being investigated using a variety of remote and in situ measurements combined with theory.   This work is leading to a broader understanding of atmospheric particles from the troposphere through the mesosphere,  and boasts some exciting new discoveries.  


Particles under investigation include

Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosols:  These particles consist of H2SO 4-H2O mixtures and are always present at stratospheric altitudes around the globe.

Cirrus:   These clouds consist of ice particles and occur globally throughout the year within the upper troposphere.

Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs):   These clouds consist of either ice or nitric acid condensates and occur within the stratosphere during winter at polar latitudes in both hemispheres.

Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMCs):   These clouds consist of ice particles and occur near the mesopause (83 km) during polar summer in both hemispheres.

Tropical Nitric Acid Clouds (TNCs): These clouds consist of nitric acid condensates and occur at tropical latitudes throughout the year at altitudes from the upper troposphere to the lower stratosphere.

Cosmic Smoke and Dust: Meteoroids are constantly entering the Earth's atmosphere, and are vaporized in the lower thermosphere/upper mesosphere due to heating during atmospheric entry.  The resulting cosmic "smoke" particles accumulate near 85 km altitude globally.

Recent Investigations

Relevant Links