A colloid in which solid particles or liquid droplets are suspended in a gas. Smoke is an example of a solid aerosol; fog is an example of a liquid aerosol.

Typically size ranges from 0.01 to 10 mm and reside in the atmosphere at least a few hours. Aerosols may be of either natural or anthropogenic origin and may influence the climate in two ways:

  1. directly through scattering and absorbing radiation
  2. indirectly through acting as condensation nuclei for cloud formation or modifying the optical properties and lifetime of clouds

Aerosol paint products have not contained chlorofluorocarbons (CFC′s) since 1978.

Carbonaceous Aerosol

Aerosol consisting predominantly of organic substances and various forms of black carbon.

Organic Aerosol

Aerosol particles consisting predominantly of organic compounds, mainly C, H, and O, and lesser amounts of other elements.

See also: Air Toxics, Particulate.

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Subjects: Chemistry Environmental