Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better models needed to track atmospheric pollution's impact on health, climate

Date:
February 19, 2012
Source:
University of Iowa Health Care
Summary:
The past decade has witnessed a significant growth in Asian air pollution, causing a great concern for air quality and climate. If government policymakers hope to contain the problem, they will need increased research and better computer models of black carbon and other aerosol pollutants, also known as atmospheric brown cloud.

The past decade has witnessed a significant growth in Asian air pollution, causing a great concern for air quality and climate. If government policymakers hope to contain the problem, they will need increased research and better computer models of black carbon and other aerosol pollutants, also known as atmospheric brown cloud (ABC), according to University of Iowa engineering professor Gregory Carmichael.

Carmichael made the case for more research and better-informed policy makers when he spoke on Feb. 19, at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He said that while ABC pollution is responsible for many problems -- including hundreds of thousands of deaths annually in India and China alone -- the scientific data required to attack the problem needs improvement.

He stressed that the problem of Asian pollutants has steadily grown worse.

"Collectively, ABCs have given rise to major areas of concern, some of the most critical being the observed decrease in the Indian summer monsoon rainfall, the north-south shift in eastern China rainfall patterns, and the accelerated retreat of the HKHT (Hindu Kush-Himalayan-Tibetan) glaciers and decrease in snow packs," he said. "All these have led to negative effects on water resources and crop yields in Asia."

He noted that the many variables involved in weather and air pollution forecasting have made it almost impossible to predict the pathways and effects of such pollution.

"Models play a critical role in linking emissions to climate and environmental impacts. This information is needed to help inform policies that target reductions in health and climate impacts. But the emissions inventories themselves are recognized to have 50 percent uncertainty in global totals, and have estimated errors of a factor of two to five in specific regions," he said.

"We need to reduce the uncertainties in the analysis chain. Uncertainties are reduced through laboratory and field experiments that improve our understanding of key processes and provide data to help constrain model predictions," he said.

In fact, the interactions of pollution, weather and climate are so complex that computer models may be the only useful tools for policy makers who must manage future emissions to improve the air quality and reduce the impacts of climate change, said Carmichael, who serves as Karl Kammermeyer Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering in the UI College of Engineering and co-director of the UI's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

He noted that information he and his colleagues gathered as a part of the NASA-funded project Atmospheric Brown Cloud already is enabling researchers to build more reliable computer models that can be used to more accurately forecast increases not just in carbon dioxide levels, but in Asian pollution in general.

During the past 10 years, field studies sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA in Asia have enabled Carmichael and colleagues to monitor air pollution transport in East Asia. Such studies have involved multiple aircraft, ship, satellite, and ground-based measurements to help develop a forecast using new computer models of the chemical weather situation. This work has helped to establish the fact that air pollution can be transported from one continent to another.

Carmichael said that new results from a detailed study of ABCs conducted during the October 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, India, showed that emissions from vehicles and houses, along with primary and secondary aerosols, greatly diminished sunlight and increased temperatures.

The Commonwealth Games study and other studies are demonstrating that the large impact of air pollution in cities is also having a large impact on local and regional climate. "Improvements in our capacity to forecast weather, air pollution, and climate will require that these systems be more closely integrated. And this close interaction of weather and environmental services is already beginning to happen around the world," he said.

Carmichael's work is funded by grants from NASA, NSF, and the Environmental Protection Agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Iowa Health Care. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Iowa Health Care. "Better models needed to track atmospheric pollution's impact on health, climate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120219143212.htm>.
University of Iowa Health Care. (2012, February 19). Better models needed to track atmospheric pollution's impact on health, climate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120219143212.htm
University of Iowa Health Care. "Better models needed to track atmospheric pollution's impact on health, climate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120219143212.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) 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:
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