Ice clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere have profound impacts on weather and climate. Until recently, the exact impact of man-made aerosols on these ice clouds had remained unclear. Assistant Researcher Bin Zhao (now an Earth Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Researcher and Assistant Director Yu Gu (corresponding author), and Professor and Director Kuo-Nan Liou in UCLA’s Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering (JIFRESSE), Research Scientist Yuan Wang (co-first author) and Professor Yuk Young at California Institute of Technolody, Group Supervisor and Principal Scientist Jonathan Jiang at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a few other Scientists has recently published a research in Nature Geoscience that has started to provide greater clarity on the issue. Being the first to use long-term satellite data and a comprehensive and meticulous cloud model to study ice clouds, they found compelling evidence that a large quantity of ice nucleating particles (an important factor in the formation of ice clouds) are produced by human activities. Their finding about ice cloud formation by anthropogenic aerosols has rarely been considered in modern weather and climate models. Given the fact that ice clouds play a central role in severe weather and climate change, an adequate representation of this process is expected to significantly improve climate projection. This study is supported by the NSF (PI: Yu Gu; Co-PI: Kuo-Nan Liou) and NASA (PI: Yu Gu; Co-Is: Kuo-Nan Liou and Bin Zhao) grants.
This work has been reported by SciGlow https://sciglow.com/earth/ice-nucleation-by-aerosols-from-anthropogenic-pollution/ and also included in a Faculty Spotlight of UCLA Physical Sciences about Prof. Kuo-Nan Liou: https://www.physicalsciences.ucla.edu/spotlight-kuo-nan-liou-climate-change/
Link to the paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-019-0389-4