Latest Issue of Science News


Cloud seeding by trees could alter precipitation, climate

Certain pollens shed potent ice-nucleating compounds

Bees and their nectar-loving friends aren’t the only means of transporting pollen long distances. Water molecules grab some wind-strewn pollens and whisk them up into the clouds, where they can become the seeds on which ice crystals form. These tiny bits of plant tissue can raise the temperature at which cloud water will freeze by up to 18 degrees Celsius, a new study finds — increasing the reflectivity of clouds and likelihood that droplets become heavy enough to rain out.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.