Tag Archives: aerosols

Artificially cooling planet would cause climate chaos, new research shows

Plans to reverse the effects of global warming by mimicking big volcanic eruptions would have a catastrophic impact on some of the most fragile ecosystems on earth, new research has shown.

Geo-engineering – the intentional manipulation of the climate to counter the effect of global warming – is being proposed as a last-ditch way to deal with the problems of climate change.

However, new research co-authored by University of Exeter expert Angus Ferraro suggests geo-engineering could cause massive changes to rainfall patterns around the equator, drying the tropical rainforests in South America and Asia and intensifying periods of drought in Africa. (more…)

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Fire and Ice: Wildfires Darkening Greenland Snowpack, Increasing Melting

SAN FRANCISCO — Satellite observations have revealed the first direct evidence of smoke from Arctic wildfires drifting over the Greenland ice sheet, tarnishing the ice with soot and making it more likely to melt under the sun.

At the American Geophysical Union meeting this week, an Ohio State University researcher presented images from NASA’s Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite, which captured smoke from Arctic fires billowing out over Greenland during the summer of 2012. (more…)

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Dinosaur Die Out Might Have Been Second of Two Closely Timed Extinctions

The most-studied mass extinction in Earth history happened 65 million years ago and is widely thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs. New University of Washington research indicates that a separate extinction came shortly before that, triggered by volcanic eruptions that warmed the planet and killed life on the ocean floor.

The well-known second event is believed to have been triggered by an asteroid at least 6 miles in diameter slamming into Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. But new evidence shows that by the time of the asteroid impact, life on the seafloor – mostly species of clams and snails – was already perishing because of the effects of huge volcanic eruptions on the Deccan Plateau in what is now India. (more…)

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Half of the Particulate Pollution in North America Comes from Other Continents

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Roughly half the aerosols that affect air quality and climate change in North America may be coming from other continents, including Asia, Africa and Europe, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, University of Maryland at Baltimore County and the Universities Space Research Association.

Atmospheric particles can travel thousands of miles downwind and impact the environment in other regions, found lead researcher Hongbin Yu of the University of Maryland, and his team in a report published in the August 3, 2012 issue of the journal Science. This could offset emission controls in North America and suggests there are more factors affecting domestic pollution than the Environmental Protection Agency has accounted for. (more…)

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Rising Air Pollution Worsens Drought, Flooding UMD-Led Study Shows

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Increases in air pollution and other particulate matter in the atmosphere can strongly affect cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions or seasons, while increasing rain, snowfall and the intensity of severe storms in wet regions or seasons, says a new study by a University of Maryland-led team of researchers.

The research provides the first clear evidence of how aerosols — soot, dust and other small particles in the atmosphere — can affect weather and climate; and the findings have important implications for the availability, management and use of water resources in regions across the United States and around the world, say the researchers and other scientists. (more…)

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Taking Measure of the Greenhouse Effect

WASHINGTON — Scientists have long known that heat-absorbing components of Earth’s atmosphere, such as clouds and certain gases, prevent our planet from being an ice-covered ball. Now a study, for the first time, comprehensively calculates the relative contributions of the components responsible for that heating, known as the greenhouse effect.

Besides clarifying an important aspect of climate science, the study also demonstrates that rising concentrations of one heat-trapping gas — carbon dioxide — leads to much more greenhouse warming than just the heat the gas absorbs directly itself.

Various studies have looked at the contributions of water vapor, CO2, and other greenhouse gases. But none had systematically estimated the contributions of each of the main players, says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and lead author of the new research. (more…)

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Aerosols Control Rainfall in the Rainforest

*Precipitation-controlling aerosols over the Amazon rainforest originate from the forest ecosystem* 

A team of environmental engineers, who might better be called “archeologists of the air,” have, for the first time, isolated aerosol particles in near pristine pre-industrial conditions.

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Optimizing Climate Change Reduction

Palo Alto, CA — Scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology have taken a new approach on examining a proposal to fix the warming planet. So-called geoengineering ideas—large-scale projects to change the Earth’s climate—have included erecting giant mirrors in space to reflect solar radiation, injecting aerosols of sulfate into the stratosphere making a global sunshade, and much more. Past modeling of the sulfate idea looked at how the stratospheric aerosols might affect Earth’s climate and chemistry.

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