Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Role Of Aerosols In Climate Change Examined

Date:
September 8, 2008
Source:
International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
Summary:
It appears that aerosol effects on clouds can induce large changes in precipitation patterns, which in turn may change not only regional water resources, but also may change the regional and global circulation systems that constitute the Earth's climate. A group of scientists have proposed a new framework to account more accurately for the effects of aerosols on precipitation in climate models.

A group of scientists affiliated with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) have proposed a new framework to account more accurately for the effects of aerosols on precipitation in climate models. Their work appears in the 5 September issue of Science magazine.

Related Articles


The increase in atmospheric concentrations of man-made aerosols—tiny particles suspended in the air—from such sources as transportation, industry, agriculture, and urban land use not only poses serious problems to human health, but also has an effect on weather and climate.

Recent studies suggest that increased aerosol loading may have changed the energy balance in the atmosphere and at the Earth's surface, and altered the global water cycle in ways that make the climate system more prone to precipitation extremes.

It appears that aerosol effects on clouds can induce large changes in precipitation patterns, which in turn may change not only regional water resources, but also may change the regional and global circulation systems that constitute the Earth's climate.

The proposed framework improves scientists' ability to simulate present and future climates by integrating, for the first time, the radiative and microphysical effects of aerosols on clouds. The radiative effects of aerosols on clouds mostly act to suppress precipitation, because they decrease the amount of solar radiation that reaches the land surface, and therefore cause less heat to be available for evaporating water and energizing convective rain clouds. Microphysical effects of aerosols can slow down the conversion of cloud drops into raindrops, which shuts off precipitation from very shallow and short-lived clouds.

Model simulations suggest that this delay of early rain causes greater amounts of cloud water and rain intensities later in the life cycle of the cloud. This suggests that rain patterns are shifting, leading to possible drought in one area and flooding downwind in another area. In addition, greater cooling below and heating above leads to enhanced upward heat transport. Model simulations have shown that greater heating in the troposphere enhances the atmospheric circulation system, shifting weather patterns due to changes convective activity.

Investigations of aerosol/precipitation effects are especially relevant to policy issues, as effects on the hydrological cycle may affect water availability, a great concern in many regions of the world. The IPCC, in its latest climate change assessment report, declared aerosols to be "the dominant uncertainty in radiative forcing (a concept used for quantitative comparisons of the strength of different human and natural agents in causing climate change)". Therefore, aerosols, clouds and their interaction with climate are still the most uncertain areas of climate change and require multidisciplinary coordinated research efforts.

To that end, authors of the Science article are participating in a new, international research project designed to study the connections between aerosols, clouds, precipitation and climate (ACPC project). The project will bring together an international multidisciplinary group of scientists from the areas of aerosol physics and chemistry, cloud dynamics, and cloud microphysics under theauspices of two international research programmes, the International Geosphere-BiosphereProgramme (IGBP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. "Role Of Aerosols In Climate Change Examined." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153801.htm>.
International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. (2008, September 8). Role Of Aerosols In Climate Change Examined. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153801.htm
International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. "Role Of Aerosols In Climate Change Examined." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153801.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) As falling oil prices boost Americans' spending power, the U.S. government is also gaining flexibility from savings on oil. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) Surfers in Russia's biggest port city on the Pacific Ocean, Vladivostok, were enjoying the sport on Saturday despite below freezing temperatures and icy cold waters. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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