Tiny particles high up in the sky give insight into climate change

Tiny particles high up in the sky give insight into climate change

SOURCE: Community Research and Developing Information Service (CORDIS) DATE: April 20, 2018 SNIP: Aerosols, tiny particles that are suspended in the atmosphere, contribute significantly towards climate change. … The scientists’ observations also reveal an enormous difference between today’s polluted atmosphere and that of pre-industrial times. Aerosol concentrations in the pristine pre-industrial atmosphere resemble their Amazonian findings: high Upper Troposphere (UT) and low Lower Troposphere (LT) aerosol levels. However, in polluted continental regions, aerosol concentrations are generally much higher at ground level than in the UT. In an era where humans are the dominant influence on climate and the environment, the aerosol concentration profile has “been turned upside down,” say the journal paper authors. The consequences for Earth’s climate are significant. “By their radiative and microphysical effects on convection dynamics, aerosols are also able to increase upper tropospheric humidity, which plays an important role in the Earth’s radiation budget and may also affect the potential for aerosol nucleation in the UT, thus providing an additional feedback,” the authors...
Carbon dioxide levels rose at record pace for 2nd straight year

Carbon dioxide levels rose at record pace for 2nd straight year

SOURCE: NOAA and The Washington Post. DATE: March 10, 2017 SNIP: Carbon dioxide levels measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory rose by 3 parts per million to 405.1 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, an increase that matched the record jump observed in 2015. The two-year, 6-ppm surge in the greenhouse gas between 2015 and 2017 is unprecedented in the observatory’s 59-year record. And, it was a record fifth consecutive year that carbon dioxide (CO2) rose by 2 ppm or greater, said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. “The rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last Ice Age,” Tans said. “This is a real shock to the...
Methane warms climate even more than previously thought

Methane warms climate even more than previously thought

SOURCE: Engineering & Technology DATE: January 11, 2017 SNIP: According to a study led by researchers from the University of Reading, methane, the main component of natural gas, is actually 32 times more potent as a climate warming agent than carbon dioxide, instead of 28 times as previously believed. That means that methane’s contribution to global warming is 25 per cent higher than previously estimated. “Clouds play a particularly important role in causing this enhanced warming effect,” said Professor Ellie Highwood from the University of Reading, one of the co-authors of the study. “Clouds reflect some of the sun’s rays back towards space, but by absorbing some of these scattered rays low down in the atmosphere, methane has an extra warming effect – a factor that was not considered by earlier...