Research Article

Aerosol-driven droplet concentrations dominate coverage and water of oceanic low-level clouds

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Science  08 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6427, eaav0566
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav0566

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Reflections on cloud effects

How much impact does the abundance of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) aerosols above the oceans have on global temperatures? Rosenfeld et al. analyzed how CCN affect the properties of marine stratocumulus clouds, which reflect much of the solar radiation received by Earth back to space (see the Perspective by Sato and Suzuki). The CCN abundance explained most of the variability in the radiative cooling. Thus, the magnitude of radiative forcing provided by these clouds is much more sensitive to the presence of CCN than current models indicate, which suggests the existence of other compensating warming effects.

Science, this issue p. eaav0566; see also p. 580