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CLOUD BRIGHT­EN­ING

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Science -

Clouds sprayed with sea­wa­ter re­flect more sun­light, which could help re­duce the planet’s tem­per­a­ture.

3 A higher pro­por­tion of short­wave ra­di­a­tion from the Sun is re­flected by the clouds that have been bright­ened. This re­duces tem­per­a­tures at the sea sur­face.

2 When the sea­wa­ter par­ti­cles reach the clouds, wa­ter vapour con­denses around them. The wa­ter droplets they form in the clouds are small, re­sult­ing in more scat­ter­ing of in­com­ing light be­cause there are more sur­faces for the light to re­flect off.

1 Noz­zles on board a ship pump tiny par­ti­cles of sea­wa­ter into the air. The noz­zle al­ready de­vel­oped by Ma­rine Cloud Bright­en­ing Project en­gi­neers is capable of gen­er­at­ing three tril­lion par­ti­cles a sec­ond.

Stra­tocu­mu­lus clouds have been iden­ti­fied as the best form of cloud to be bright­ened. These low clouds ex­tend over huge ar­eas, so of­fer a much bet­ter prospect of af­fect­ing tem­per­a­ture than tiny pock­ets of wispy clouds. And un­like higher clouds, they also al­low a rel­a­tively high pro­por­tion of the long­wave ra­di­a­tion re­flected from the Earth’s sur­face to pass through them – they trap lit­tle heat be­neath them, in other words. LONG­WAVE RA­DI­A­TION Cloud bright­en­ing is most likely to take place out at sea. This is be­cause ma­rine clouds tend to have a low re­flec­tiv­ity, giv­ing plenty of scope to boost their re­flec­tiv­ity by in­ject­ing them with sea­wa­ter droplets.

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