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ucresearch:

How ocean dust makes rain clouds

When storm clouds form over the ocean they’re drawing that moisture into the atmosphere to form clouds.  At that point it takes many water vapor molecules to freeze and bond with one another to fall from the sky, but how does this bonding process start?  

It begins with tiny particles of organic matter such as parts of cells of dead organisms that the water vapor can bond to (as ice). Scientists at UC San Diego now theorize that these particles get into the air from waves in the ocean crashing into one another.

However not all of these particles are organic.  For example, pollution particles can gather ice, but since they’re much smaller in size and reflective the ice tends to melt before it can get heavy enough to fall back to the ground. 

Read more about these particles here →

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