Oklahoma researchers work to determine role aerosols play in cloud formation

LAMONT, Okla. — Oklahoma scientists are working toward a new technology that will help improve forecasts in the future.

Blowing dust, wildfire smoke, power plant gasses and other small particles high in the atmosphere are referred to as aerosols by meteorologists.

“Aerosols are these specks of materials that are constantly in the air. Sometimes you can see them. Sometimes you can’t,” said research scientist Jessie Creamean.

The small particles play a pivotal role in cloud formation.

“Without aerosols in general, you’re not going to have those clouds,” Creamean said. “So, you have to have them. They’re a piece of the puzzle.”

An instrument in Lamont, Oklahoma, routinely collects information on aerosols. The facility also is the largest and most extensive climate research facility in the world.

“The first time in that, that we’ve had these more routine measurements so that we can kind of see how they change over the years how they change between years,” Creamean said.

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