Research Spotlight: Simple description of atmospheric organic aerosol


  • Ernie Tretkoff


Atmospheric organic aerosols consist of a variety of organic molecules that are either directly emitted into the atmosphere or formed through chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Organic aerosols can affect climate by altering the amount of sunlight that is reflected away from Earth. Because the aerosol composition changes as chemical reactions take place in the atmosphere and air masses move and mix, it is difficult and time consuming for atmospheric chemistry models to include the details of the evolution of organic aerosol composition. A new study shows that it may not be necessary for models to include all the details.