Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate science boost with tropical aerosols profile

Date:
August 2, 2013
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
The seasonal influence of aerosols on Australia's tropical climate can now be included in climate models following completion of the first long-term study of fine smoke particles generated by burning of the savanna open woodland and grassland.

Fine particles generated by burning of the tropical savanna of Northern Australia are a globally significant aerosol source, with impacts on regional climate and air quality.
Credit: Susan Campbell, CSIRO

The seasonal influence of aerosols on Australia's tropical climate can now be included in climate models following completion of the first long-term study of fine smoke particles generated by burning of the savanna open woodland and grassland.

Australia's biomass burning emissions comprise about eight per cent of the global total, ranking third by continent behind Africa (48 per cent) and South America (27 per cent).

Lead researcher, CSIRO's Dr Ross Mitchell, said fine particles generated by burning of the tropical savanna of Northern Australia are a globally significant aerosol source, with impacts on regional climate and air quality.

"Aerosols play a very important role in modulating climate, yet the knowledge of perhaps the most basic piece of information -- the seasonal climatology -- remains undetermined for many aerosol producing regions.

"Our latest research defines the aerosol climatology of the Australian savanna -- by combining observations from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology monitoring stations across northern Australia, spanning 12-14 years.

"This foundation stone of the aerosol cycle allows hard-nosed testing and development of the aerosol modules used within global climate models," Dr Mitchell said.

The paper was published in the 3 July print edition of Geophysical Research Letters.

Burning is widespread during the May to October dry season, with approximately 30 per cent by area of the savanna regions lying within Western Australia and the Northern Territory being burnt each season. Similar seasonal burning also takes place in the savanna regions of Queensland. The majority of burning is carried out deliberately in order to reduce woody undergrowth and promote subsequent grass growth for grazing, although fires also occur naturally through lightning strikes.

The new monthly climatology shows the expected rise in emissions during the late dry season -- when most burning takes place -- to a peak in October, with clear evidence of dominant fine-particle smoke emission.

The measurements were carried out at three widely-separated stations across northern Australia.

"It was expected that there would be a lot of variation between the stations due to differences in the timing and intensity of fires, combined with separations of up to 800 kilometres.

"You expect to see a relationship between the measurements if you average them over time, say a month, as the day to day variations are smoothed out and the 'seasonal' factors of fuel flammability and meteorology take over. The measurements indeed confirm this.

"Surprisingly, the relationship remains high even for periods as short as five days. This tells us something unexpected about the combustion and transport of the smoke that needs to be captured by fire models. It also tells us that having just one seasonal cycle for the entire Australian savanna might be enough -- simplifying the task of properly representing this aerosol in climate models," Dr Mitchell said.

This research connects with the carbon cycle work of Dr Vanessa Haverd and her team, who recently showed that lack of adequate fire modelling in the Australian savanna contributes very large uncertainty to the regional and national carbon budget.

Dr Mitchell anticipates that the results of the paper will be used to guide development of a fire model for this region.

The research was supported by the Australian Government's Climate Change Science Program, the US Department of Energy, and Bureau of Meteorology observers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. M. Mitchell, B. W. Forgan, S. K. Campbell, Y. Qin. The climatology of Australian tropical aerosol: Evidence for regional correlation. Geophysical Research Letters, 2013; 40 (10): 2384 DOI: 10.1002/grl.50403

Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Climate science boost with tropical aerosols profile." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130802095150.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2013, August 2). Climate science boost with tropical aerosols profile. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130802095150.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Climate science boost with tropical aerosols profile." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130802095150.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) 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