Research Spotlight: Dry lake bed salts promote cloud formation


  • Leslie Ofori,

  • Ernie Tretkoff


One of the major uncertainties in climate modeling is the effect of aerosol particles on cloud formation. Sea salt in the air has been known to be important in cloud formation over oceans. Now a new study provides the first direct measurements of clouds showing that windblown dust from dry lake beds (playas) can also act as cloud condensation nuclei, encouraging the formation of clouds over continents and thereby affecting climate.