Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Giant Atmospheric Brown Cloud Has Intercontinental Reach

Date:
December 17, 2004
Source:
NASA/Ames Research Center
Summary:
NASA scientists announced a giant, smoggy atmospheric brown cloud, which forms over South Asia and the Indian Ocean, has intercontinental reach. The brown cloud is a moving, persistent air mass characterized by a mixed-particle haze. It also contains other pollution, such as ozone.

A dense blanket of polluted air hovers over central eastern China. The 'Giant Brown Cloud' is an unhealthy mix of ozone, smoke, and other particles from human activities.
Credit: NASA/ORBIMAGE

NASA scientists announced a giant, smoggy atmospheric brown cloud, which forms over South Asia and the Indian Ocean, has intercontinental reach. The scientists presented their findings today during the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting in San Francisco.

The scientists discussed the massive cloud's sources, global movement and its implications. The brown cloud is a moving, persistent air mass characterized by a mixed-particle haze. It also contains other pollution, such as ozone.

"Ozone is a triple-threat player in the global environment. There are three very different ways ozone affects our lives," said Robert Chatfield, a scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "A protective layer of good ozone, high in the atmosphere, shields us from deadly ultraviolet light that comes from the sun. Second, bad or smog ozone near the surface of Earth can burn our lungs and damage crops. In our study, we are looking at a third major effect of ozone, that it can warm the planet, because it is a powerful greenhouse gas," Chatfield said.

"We found both brown cloud pollution and natural processes can contribute to unhealthy levels of ozone in the troposphere where we live and breathe. Some ozone from the brown cloud rises to high enough altitudes to spread over the global atmosphere," Chatfield explained. Ozone from the Earth's protective stratospheric layer, produced by natural processes, can migrate down to contribute to concentrations in the lower atmosphere, according to the scientists.

The researchers studied the intercontinental smog ozone processes associated with the brown cloud over South Asia. They used a NASA technique that combines data acquired by satellites with ozone data measured by instruments on special weather balloons.

The ozone-monitoring instrument on NASA's Aura satellite is providing data about the brown cloud. "The beautiful, high-detail images from this instrument promise to help us sort out our major questions about how much of the tropospheric ozone is from pollution and how much is from natural factors," Chatfield said.

Analysis shows ozone in the lower atmosphere over the Indian Ocean comes from the intensely developed industrial-agricultural areas in the region. The southern pollutant buildup has long-range effects, often traveling across Africa, further than the brown cloud of particles, according to researchers.

To access technical information about the brown cloud study on the Web, visit:

http://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sgg/chatfield/recentRes.html For information and images related to this story on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/brown_cloud.html For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Ames Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Ames Research Center. "Giant Atmospheric Brown Cloud Has Intercontinental Reach." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041217100237.htm>.
NASA/Ames Research Center. (2004, December 17). Giant Atmospheric Brown Cloud Has Intercontinental Reach. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041217100237.htm
NASA/Ames Research Center. "Giant Atmospheric Brown Cloud Has Intercontinental Reach." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041217100237.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — NASA is inviting all social media users to take a selfie of themselves alongside nature and to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Google Plus with the hashtag #globalselfie. NASA's goal is to crowd-source a collection of snapshots of the earth, ground-up, that will be used to create one "unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." This image will be available to all in May. Since this is probably one of the few times posting a selfie to Twitter won't be embarrassing, we suggest you give it a go for a good cause. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins