Combustion nucleus

From Glossary of Meteorology

combustion nucleus

A condensation nucleus formed as a result of industrial, transport, or natural combustion processes.

The chemical nature of such nuclei may vary almost as much as can the nature of reactants in combustion processes, but because of the prevalence of sulfur impurities in many fuels, the process transforming sulfur dioxide (SO2) to sulfur trioxide (SO3) and thence sulfuric acid is perhaps the most important in producing combustion nuclei. Sulfuric acid is very hygroscopic and hence can serve to nucleate atmospheric condensation processes. The role of the ammonium ion (NH4+), which is formed in some combustion processes, is probably of almost equal importance to that of the sulfite (SO3-2) and sulfate (SO4-3) ions. Such nuclei may be completely or (in association with soot) partly soluble in water.

Copyright 2022 American Meteorological Society (AMS). For permission to reuse any portion of this work, please contact Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code § 107) or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S.Copyright Act (17 USC § 108) does not require AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, require written permission or a license from AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement.