Studying the Seeds for Clouds at the CERN Research Labs
Tiny particles in the sky are needed for clouds to form. These particles can come directly from the ground (for example from volcanoes or industry) or form in the sky when sticky molecules clump together. More particles in the sky makes clouds whiter. Whiter clouds reflect more of the sun’s rays. This tends to cool down Earth’s climate. So particles in the sky affect clouds and this in turn has an effect on global warming. Therefore, it is important to understand how particles form in the sky. To study this, we measure how fast they are made when we add controlled amounts of sticky gases to a tank at the CERN research lab. With computer simulations, we use the results to estimate which gases are most important for making particles in different parts of the atmosphere. This will help scientists understand how particles affect Earth’s climate.