A five-year, $20 million grant announced Monday will allow a locally led team of scientists to study how the surprisingly complex compounds in sea spray affect rainfall, climate and human health.
The National Science Foundation is awarding the money to the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment, which is based at the University of California San Diego.
While aerosols are best known as the contents of spray cans, they also include dust, soot, pollution and sea spray, said Kimberly Prather, director of the center and a professor of atmospheric chemistry at the university.
“They’re very visual,” she said. “You can see their evidence in red sunsets, tailpipes and gobs of them coming from wildfires. The natural ones are from the ocean.”