Planetary Boundaries

Atmospheric aerosol loading

Aerosols affect cloud formation and patterns of atmospheric circulation, such as the monsoon systems in tropical regions. They also change how much solar radiation is reflected or absorbed in the atmosphere. Humans affect aerosol loading by pollution and land-use change that increases the release of dust and smoke. It has not been possible to set a specific threshold value at which global-scale effects will occur.

Caption: Forests fires, Idaho, Utah, Montana, USA, 2007
Credit: NASA, ISS Expedition 15