Cloud-Making Aerosol Could Devastate Polar Sea Ice

Quanta Magazine

To climate scientists, clouds are powerful, pillowy paradoxes: They can simultaneously reflect away the sun’s heat but also trap it in the atmosphere; they can be products of warming temperatures but can also amplify their effects. Now, while studying the atmospheric chemistry that produces clouds, researchers have uncovered an unexpectedly potent natural process that seeds their growth. They further suggest that, as the Earth continues to warm from rising levels of greenhouse gases, this process could be a major new mechanism for accelerating the loss of sea ice at the poles — one that no global climate model currently incorporates.