Researchers have found that plant-emitted aerosoles—the extremely low-volatile organic compounds—consist of relatively large molecules. They show how these vapours are formed almost immediately when plant emissions are released into the air. The vapours then condense on small aerosol particles suspended in the air, causing them to grow to around 100 nanometres. At this size, they can reflect incoming sunlight and act as cloud condensation nuclei. It is believed that the findings of this study could help improve assessments of biosphere–aerosol–climate feedback mechanisms, and the air quality and climate effects of biogenic emissions generally. Read more in Nature.
M Ehn et al., Nature, 2014. DOI: 10.1038/nature13032