The main job of pollen is to help seed the next generation of trees and plants, but a new study from the University of Michigan and Texas A&M shows that the grains might also seed clouds.The unexpected findings demonstrate that these wind-carried capsules of genetic material might have an effect on the planet’s climate. And they highlight a new link between plants and the atmosphere.
A tree that holds pollen grains that Allison Steiner, an associate professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences; and her team of researchers at the University of Michigan believe can seed clouds. When the pollen gets wet from these trees, it breaks down into smaller particles that can hold condensation for cloud formation. Credit: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing
Journal reference: Geophysical Research Letters