According to a Scripps Institute of Oceanography press release, Scripps scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have replicated an ocean aerosol environment in the lab. The researchers explored how small pieces of biological material churning at the ocean’s surface impact clouds, climate and the atmosphere.
Experiments were conducted in a specially created ocean-atmosphere wave facility. Scientists and students dosed seawater with nutrients, then churned up the phytoplankton bloom that resulted into a sea spray. Some of the resulting biological particles were expected to become the building blocks of clouds, as water vapor could cling to the particles. The particles could also serve as seeds for ice crystal formation.
Top image: Scripps scientists replicate sea spray in the lab. (Credit: National Science Foundation)