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Mimicking real-world atmospheric conditions to advance our understanding of climate science

A team of researchers involving Marie Curie Fellows have been investigating the effects of atmospheric vapors on climate. Their work, published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific journals) puts us one step closer to understanding one of the enigmas in climate science. The research focused on particle formation from organic molecules and contributes to our fundamental understanding of atmospheric vapors. Indeed, the phenomenon of particle formation (which can result from the use of aerosols) is believed to have a role on climate change.

The key innovation in this experimental set up is the use of the Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets (CLOUD) chamber at CERN to mimic real-world atmospheric conditions under clean experimental conditions. A wide range of external instrumentation allowed scientists to establish that chemical fingerprints of the new particle formation form organic molecules in the chamber and unravel that these closely match formation events in the boreal forest. It was observed that organic compounds contribute to the formation of and growth of aerosol (minute particles suspended in the atmosphere), which have a profound effect on our lives as it relates to changes in climate.

This research was partially funded by a Marie Curie Initial Training Network grant (European Commission 7th Framework Programme)  called “CLOUD-ITN”.

Learn more about the project CLOUD-ITN:

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