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Scientists Investigate Pollution-Cloud Interaction in SCILLA Experiment off Southern California Coast 

Scilla 1 Minghao

In a groundbreaking research project based out of San Diego, CE-CERT researchers have been delving into the fascinating interaction between low-level clouds and a unique blend of clean marine air and highly polluted air originating from the emissions-rich Los Angeles/Long Beach region. Director of CE-CERT, Dr. Don Collins and Ph.D. student Minghao Han dedicated the majority of June to this project, utilizing a range of instruments deployed from a Naval Postgraduate School research aircraft.

The initiative, known as the Southern California Interactions of Low cloud and Land Aerosol (SCILLA) experiment, aims to unravel the sources, transport, and behavior of pollutants in conjunction with their impact on clouds and radiation. The team conducted near-daily flights over the northeastern Pacific Ocean, primarily focusing on two areas of interest.

One focus was the vicinity of San Clemente Island, where researchers measured processed pollution to gain insights into its influence on cloud formation and behavior. The other focus area was along the stretch of coast west of downtown L.A., allowing scientists to better understand the circumstances under which pollution can be pushed offshore.

Minghao, who played a crucial role as a flight scientist during many of the flights, spent countless hours inside the compact aircraft, tirelessly working with the instruments. His commitment and expertise have been vital in ensuring the success of the project. Now, as the intense fieldwork draws to a close, Minghao looks forward to returning to the lab and stretching his legs.

The findings from the SCILLA experiment hold significant potential for improving our understanding of pollution dynamics, cloud formation, and environmental interactions. The scientists involved in this research endeavor are making substantial strides toward unraveling the complexities of the atmospheric conditions off the Southern California coast. 

Stay tuned for further updates on their groundbreaking discoveries!

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