What Are Aerosols and How Do They Impact Our Climate System?

Aerosols are a wide range of particles that affect precipitation and human health. Where do they come from, and what do we do about it?


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If you were an aerosol, which would you be?


The word “aerosol” might make us think of hairspray and Fabreeze cans, but under the scientific definition, aerosols are a wide range of solid and liquid particles ranging from sea salt to dust to black carbon that end up in the atmosphere. These aerosols actually have a net cooling effect on the climate, but considering their health impacts and their propensity to worsen droughts and rainstorms, excess aerosols are far from desirable. Today, we explore the problems aerosols create, how they are emitted both naturally and anthropogenically, and where we go from here. With special guest Dr. Faye McNeill: Professor of Chemical Engineering and Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

The Sweaty Penguin is presented by Peril and Promise: a public media initiative from The WNET Group in New York, reporting on the issues and solutions around climate change. You can learn more at pbs.org/perilandpromise.

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CREDITS

Writers: Megan Crimmins, Shannon Damiano, Ethan Brown, Maddy Schmidt

Fact Checker: Hallie Cordingley

Editor: Frank Hernandez

Producers: Olivia Amitay, Ethan Brown, Megan Crimmins, Shannon Damiano, Frank Hernandez, Dain Kim, Caroline Koehl

Ad Voiceover: Frank Hernandez

Music: Brett Sawka


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The Sweaty Penguin
The Sweaty Penguin is a digital news source and podcast aiming to make environmental issues less overwhelming and politicized and more accessible and fun.

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