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High Natural Aerosol Loading over Boreal Forests

Science  14 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5771, pp. 261-263
DOI: 10.1126/science.1123052

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Abstract

Aerosols play a key role in the radiation balance of the atmosphere. Here, we present evidence that the European boreal region is a substantial source of both aerosol mass and aerosol number. The investigation supplies a straightforward relation between emissions of monoterpenes and gas-to-particle formation over regions substantially lacking in anthropogenic aerosol sources. Our results show that the forest provides an aerosol population of 1000 to 2000 particles of climatically active sizes per cubic centimeter during the late spring to early fall period. This has important implications for radiation budget estimates and relevancy for the evaluation of feedback loops believed to determine our future climate.

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