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Atmospheric Science & Global Change

Aerosols, Clouds and Precipitation

Blanketing the Earth, the atmosphere contains fundamental components that affect the transfer of energy, water, and other constituents needed to sustain life. PNNL scientists are international leaders in improving our understanding of aerosol particles and cloud systems, including how they interact to control atmospheric radiation and precipitation processes—which are among the biggest uncertainties in climate science. Our leadership in this critical research area leverages and integrates our expertise in atmospheric measurements, including technical direction of the ARM Climate Research Facility and management of the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), with our multi-scale atmospheric and climate modeling capabilities. The goals of this research are to:

  • Characterize the sources, sinks, atmospheric lifecycle, and radiative effects of aerosol particles
  • Understand cloud dynamics, precipitation processes, and aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions
  • Develop improved representations of cloud and aerosol processes in climate models
  • Apply our knowledge in cross-cutting research addressing issues such as air quality policy, climate engineering, and renewable energy resource assessment

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