Asian Desert Dust Causes Californian Snowfall

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Ryan Sullivan and Paul DeMott aboard aircraft

The next time you try to catch a snowflake on your tongue, just think that the particle at the core of that snowflake may have traveled thousands of miles from a desert in Asia before it fell from the sky above the United States. A new study published online in Science Express by an international group of researchers, including Carnegie Mellon University’s Ryan Sullivan, has found that airborne dust and biological particles from the Sahara Desert in Africa and deserts in Asia can form the nucleus of ice-induced precipitation in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range.