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Soot, sulfate, dust and the climate — three ways through the fog

How much have aerosol particles slowed warming? Climate & Space Prof. Joyce Penner sets out priorities for a coordinated campaign of observations and modelling.| Short Read
EnlargeAerosols and Climate graphic. Credit: Nature
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Climate & Space Prof. Joyce Penner has written a new article on atmospheric aerosols published this week in Nature. The article, “Soot, sulfate, dust and the climate — three ways through the fog,” examines the sometimes enigmatic behaviors of tiny particles from both human and natural sources, and lays out methods by which we might gain a better understanding of their role in masking the warming of the planet from greenhouse gases.
From the article:

“Greenhouse gases might be the main culprits in the rapid warming of our planet, but particles in the air also play a part. Soot, dust, sulfate and other aerosols can both cool the atmosphere and warm it. Yet, nearly 30 years after the first report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we still don’t really know how much aerosols influence the climate. These particles remain one of the greatest lingering sources of uncertainty.”

Aerosols and Climate graphic. Credit: Nature
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Sticking the landing on Mars: High-powered computing aims to reduce guesswork

As the Mars 2020 launch approaches, a separate effort is using simulations to understand landing dynamics for tomorrow's missions. | Medium Read