The influence of atmospheric aerosols in the Earth’s climate is still affected by a high uncertainty. Atmospheric aerosol can affect the Earth’s atmosphere energy budget by means of direct effects (by scattering or absorbing solar radiation) and indirect effects (mainly by changes in cloud properties). An important factor that can modify the role of aerosols in the global energy budget is the relative humidity. Under high relative humidity conditions, aerosol particles size may increase due to water uptake (hygroscopic growth) altering their size distribution. The hygroscopic growth affects the direct scattering of radiation and especially the indirect effects, as the affinity of atmospheric aerosols for water vapour is highly related to their ability to act as cloud condensation nuclei.
Mess- & Prognosesysteme Forschung & Zusammenarbeit