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Last edited 14 Dec 2021
Climate Change 2021, The Physical Science Basis, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2021, defines an aerosol a: ‘A suspension of airborne solid or liquid particles, with typical diameters between a few nanometres and a few micrometres and atmospheric lifetimes of up to several days in the troposphere and up to years in the stratosphere. The term aerosol, which includes both the particles and the suspending gas, is often used in this report in its plural form to mean ‘aerosol particles’. Aerosols may be of either natural or anthropogenic origin in the troposphere; stratospheric aerosol mostly stems from volcanic eruptions. Aerosols can cause an effective radiative forcing directly through scattering and absorbing radiation (aerosol-radiation interactions), and indirectly by acting as cloud condensation nuclei or ice nucleating particles which affect the properties of clouds (aerosol-cloud interactions), and upon deposition on snow- or ice-covered surfaces. Atmospheric aerosols may be emitted as primary particulate matter (PM), and form within the atmosphere from gaseous precursors (secondary production). Main classes of aerosol chemical composition are sea salt, organic carbon, black carbon (BC), mineral species (mainly desert dust), sulphate, nitrate, and ammonium. See also Short-lived climate forcers (SLCFs).’
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