June 29, 2017 / Modified jul 6, 2017 3:25 p.m.

Episode 86: The Widespread Effects of Tiny Aerosol Particles on Climate and Health

Of all environmental threats, particles are responsible for the most deaths globally.

NASA Clouds/Particles Measuring clouds and aerosols from the Space Station.


Although aerosol particles in the air are microscopic in size, their effects are all around us every moment of our lives. They affect public health, mostly owing to their deposition in the respiratory tract; in fact, of all environmental threats, particles are responsible for the most deaths globally. Particles also have huge effects on climate and rainfall. Because they last only a few days to weeks in the atmosphere and are constantly changing in size and composition, their effect on the planet's energy balance is among the largest uncertainties in estimates of climate change. Amin Sorooshian's research team is investigating the nature of airborne particles with field measurements, satellite remote-sensing data, and models. His groups is especially invested in trying to unravel the complexities associated with how particles affect the reflectivity of clouds and how and when the produce precipitation.

In this Episode

Armin Sorooshian, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemi cal and Environmental Engineering, and Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
Leslie Tolbert, Ph.D., Regents' Professor in Neuroscience

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