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Press Release 09-100

Scientists Make First Direct Observations of Biological Particles in High-Altitude Clouds

Airborne dust and microbial matter appear to play large role in ice formation in clouds

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Photo of clouds taken from the window of an airplane.

Biological particles--bacteria, pollen, fungi--act as nuclei for formation of ice in clouds.

Credit: NCAR


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Photo of the NSF C-130 aircraft used in the ICE-L project.

This NSF C-130 aircraft was used in the ICE-L project.

Credit: Kerri Pratt, UCSD


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Photo of scientist Kerri Pratt inside an NSF C-130 aircraft, tracking cloud particles.

Scientist Kerri Pratt inside an NSF C-130 aircraft, with instruments for tracking cloud particles.

Credit: Kerri Pratt, UCSD


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