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.
This ice crystal formation, called nucleation, is made