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Asteroids may influence weather

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vincent    155
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Dust from asteroids entering the atmosphere may influence Earth's weather more than previously believed, say U.S., Canadian and Australian researchers.

Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division, the University of Western Ontario, the Aerospace Corporation, and Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories found evidence that dust from an asteroid burning up as it descended through Earth's atmosphere formed a cloud of micron-sized particles, significant enough to influence local weather in Antarctica.

The particles are big enough to reflect sunlight, cause local cooling, and play a major role in cloud formation, say the researchers.

"Our observations suggest that (meteors exploding) in Earth's atmosphere could play a more important role in climate than previously recognized," the researchers wrote in Nature.


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