Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
PNNL News Central

Pollution particles spur more mountain snow

News Brief

April 21, 2017 Share This!

1 of 1

RICHLAND, Wash. — High concentrations of tiny pollution particles near the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the western United States invigorate cloud formation and boost snowfall on the mountains, according to a new study by scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and their collaborators at Colorado State University.

That happens because the particles lead to the creation of many more shallow clouds in the California Central Valley and foothills, changing local air circulation. Latent heat is given off when the cloud droplet forms, which strengthens the transport of moisture to the windward slope.

The newly discovered phenomenon by PNNL scientist Jiwen Fan and colleagues offers insights for other mountainous regions of the planet that are polluted, such as in China and India.

More details about the work, which was published recently in Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics, are available in this article.

Tags: Environment, Fundamental Science, Climate Science, Atmospheric Science, Aerosols

PNNL LogoPacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on signature capabilities in chemistry, earth sciences, and data analytics to advance scientific discovery and create solutions to the nation's toughest challenges in energy resiliency and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

News Center


Additional Resources