Aerosols are an important forcing agent for the Earth’s climate given their ability to both reflect and absorb incoming and/or outgoing solar radiation. Aerosols are highly complex, coming from a variety of sources — either directly emitted from the Earth’s surface or formed in the atmosphere from gas phase precursors. They are variable in both space and time, and their composition and thus climatic impacts can evolve with time. Aerosols can affect the optical properties of clouds with which they may come in contact, and may also affect their production of precipitation. Black carbon is a particularly important aerosol, as it tends to be absorbing, potentially leading to warming of the climate — as well as other environmental impacts, such as deposition on snow surfaces with resulting changes in albedo. In this presentation, a summary of what’s known about current distributions and temporal evolution of aerosols will be provided, using results of a broad range of observations (satellite, in situ, surface-based) and models.


Post time: 09-24-2016