Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hand-held Aerosol Sensors Help Fill Crucial Data Gap Over Oceans

Date:
July 6, 2009
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
Since NASA researchers began assembling the Aerosol Robotic Network in the 1990s, the worldwide network of ground-based aerosol sensors has grown to 400 sites across seven continents. The trouble is that two-thirds of the planet is covered by ocean. And aerosols -- the tiny atmospheric particles that can have an outsized impact on the climate -- are just as likely to be found in the air above the oceans as they are over land.

Scientists contributing to the Maritime Aerosol Network use portable instruments to measure aerosols levels during research cruises. The map below shows the trajectories of the 50 cruises conducted so far.
Credit: NASA

Since NASA researchers began assembling the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) in the 1990s, the worldwide network of ground-based aerosol sensors has grown to 400 sites across seven continents.

The trouble is that two-thirds of the planet is covered by ocean. And aerosols -- the tiny atmospheric particles that can have an outsized impact on the climate -- are just as likely to be found in the air above the oceans as they are over land.

Yet aerosols are scarcely measured over the oceans. Alexander Smirnov, an AERONET project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., hopes to change that. Smirnov is leading a new effort called the Maritime Aerosol Network (MAN), which will send researchers with portable photometers on oceanographic research cruises. The hand-held devices can detect the presence of aerosols in air by measuring how light scatters as it strikes the particles.

Taking the measurements is relatively easy: Several times a day, a researcher stands on a ship's deck when the sun is fully visible, points the instrument at the sun, and pushes a button. The photometer performs a series of scans within a few seconds.

Finding "ships of opportunity" and volunteer scientists willing to take the measurements is not so easy. And transporting the photometers between the ships and Goddard for calibration can be a lengthy process.

Even so, Smirnov has arranged to have the have handheld photometers carried aboard more than 50 vessels—both commercial and research—from 12 countries since November 2006. Initial results show that data from the portable photometers correspond well with permanent AERONET stations on select islands.

The initial efforts have produced a tantalizing observation. "Aerosol concentrations over the oceans at the high latitudes are not as high as satellite measurements suggest they should be," said Smirnov. This could be a fluke, given the relatively small number of ocean measurements so far. Or it could mean, as researchers suspect, that the satellite instruments and measurement methodologies should be improved.

"We need to figure out why we're seeing this difference," said Smirnov. Unless scientists achieve greater confidence in aerosols measurements, predicting how climate in specific regions will respond to global temperature increases will remain difficult.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. The original article was written by Adam Voiland, NASA Earth Science News Team. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Hand-held Aerosol Sensors Help Fill Crucial Data Gap Over Oceans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629165603.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2009, July 6). Hand-held Aerosol Sensors Help Fill Crucial Data Gap Over Oceans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629165603.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Hand-held Aerosol Sensors Help Fill Crucial Data Gap Over Oceans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090629165603.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