Geophysical Research Letters

Saharan dust storms and indirect aerosol effects on clouds: CRYSTAL-FACE results

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Abstract

[1] A recent field experiment in southern Florida using aircraft and polarization lidar shows that mineral dust particles transported from Saharan Africa are effective ice nuclei, apparently capable of glaciating a mildly supercooled (−5.2° to −8.8°C) altocumulus cloud. These results are similar to those from Asian dust storm particles observed over the western US, suggesting that in the northern hemisphere major dust storms play a role in modulating climate through the indirect aerosol effect on cloud properties. If this is true of desert dusts in general, then even minor aeolian emissions could have an effect on regional weather and climate.

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