A collection of airborne solid or liquid particles, with a typical size between 0.01 and 10 micrometer (a millionth of a meter) that reside in the atmosphere for at least several hours. Aerosols may be of either natural or anthropogenic origin. Aerosols may influence climate in several ways: directly through scattering and absorbing radiation, and indirectly through acting as cloud condensation nuclei or modifying the optical properties and lifetime of clouds. (IPCC)
An aerosol is a colloid of fine solid particles or liquid droplets, in air or another gas. Aerosols can be natural or artificial. Examples of natural aerosols are fog, forest exudates and geyser steam. Examples of artificial aerosols are haze, dust, particulate air pollutants and smoke. The liquid or solid particles have diameter mostly smaller than 1 μm or so; larger particles with a significant settling speed make the mixture a suspension, but the distinction is not clear-cut. In general conversation, aerosol usually refers to an aerosol spray that delivers a consumer product from a can or similar container. Other technological applications of aerosols include dispersal of pesticides, medical treatment of respiratory illnesses, and combustion technology. Diseases can also spread by means of small droplets in the breath, also called aerosols. Aerosol science covers generation and removal of aerosols, technological application of aerosols, effects of aerosols on the environment and people, and a wide variety of other topics.
Source: Wikipedia - Aerosol