Increased ionization supports growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei

H. Svensmark*, M. B. Enghoff, N. J. Shaviv, J. Svensmark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ions produced by cosmic rays have been thought to influence aerosols and clouds. In this study, the effect of ionization on the growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei is investigated theoretically and experimentally. We show that the mass-flux of small ions can constitute an important addition to the growth caused by condensation of neutral molecules. Under atmospheric conditions the growth from ions can constitute several percent of the neutral growth. We performed experimental studies which quantify the effect of ions on the growth of aerosols between nucleation and sizes >20 nm and find good agreement with theory. Ion-induced condensation should be of importance not just in Earth's present day atmosphere for the growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei under pristine marine conditions, but also under elevated atmospheric ionization caused by increased supernova activity.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2199
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

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