Saharan dust particles nucleate droplets in eastern Atlantic clouds
Article first published online: 13 JAN 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2009
How to Cite
2009), Saharan dust particles nucleate droplets in eastern Atlantic clouds, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L01807, doi:10.1029/2008GL035846., et al. (
- Issue published online: 13 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 13 JAN 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 25 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 3 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Received: 28 AUG 2008
 Many soil-derived particles dominated by insoluble material, including Saharan dusts, are known to act as ice nuclei. If, however, dust particles can compete with other atmospheric particle types to form liquid cloud droplets, they have a greater potential to change climate through indirect effects on cloud radiative properties and to affect the hydrological cycle through precipitation changes. By directly collecting and analyzing the residual nuclei of small cloud droplets, we demonstrate that Saharan dust particles do commonly act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in the eastern North Atlantic. Droplet activation calculations support the measurements by showing that due to its slightly hygroscopic nature, even submicron dust can be important as CCN. Given the dual nature of Saharan dust particles as CCN and ice nuclei, this infusion of dust is expected to impact not only droplet size and albedo in small clouds, but ice formation in deep convective clouds.