CSU study says Saharan, Asian dust contributes to ice particles that bring precipitation to U.S.

By: Steve Monday March 4, 2013 0 comments Tags: CSU, DOE, Fort Collins, NOAA, Paul DeMott, Science

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FORT COLLINS - Research by CSU and the University of California-San Diego shows that tiny dust particles that come as far away as the Saharan desert in north Africa are vital to the development of precipitation over the U.S.

A key contributor to the study was Paul DeMott, a senior research scientist in CSU's Department of Atmospheric Science. Results of the study were published in latest issue of the journal Science.

The research is being led by Kimberly Prather at UC-San Diego and is funded primarily by the California Energy Commission with in-kind support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Department of Energy.

The study measured dust particles over the Sierra Nevada mountains in clouds using a DOE aircraft, work carried out by DeMott.

"Although it takes water vapor being lifted over the mountains to make snow, the precipitation process is affected by seeds that help start the snow," DeMott said.

"You do need some things in the air that will help to make ice, and their abundance can vary. One of the more important factors is the transportation of dust."

DeMott, a member of the CSU general faculty since 1986, co-chairs the International Committee on Nucleation and Atmospheric Aerosols, which will host its 19th annual conference June 23-18 at CSU.


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