Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




BLUE SKY
Biological activity alters the ability of sea spray to seed clouds
by Staff Writers
San Diego CA (SPX) Apr 23, 2013


File image.

Ocean biology alters the chemical composition of sea spray in ways that influence their ability to form clouds over the ocean. That's the conclusion of a team of scientists using a new approach to study tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols that can influence climate by absorbing or reflecting sunlight and seeding clouds.

"After many decades of attempting to understand how the ocean impacts the atmosphere and clouds above it, it became clear a new approach was needed to investigate the complex ocean-atmosphere system-so moving the chemical complexity of the ocean to the laboratory represented a major advance that will enable many new studies to be performed," said Kimberly Prather, director of the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment, who led the team of more than 30 scientists involved in this project.

They report their findings in the early, online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of April 22.

Tiny air bubbles form in the ocean when waves break and then rise to the surface and burst, releasing gases and aerosols into the atmosphere. This study demonstrates how sea spray aerosols come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes with chemical complexity ranging from simple salts to complex biological mixtures to bacterial cells.

For decades, scientists have been studying how their chemical make-up affects their ability to take up water, seed clouds, and react in the atmosphere. It is has been difficult to isolate and study marine aerosols in the real world, however, because aerosols from other sources overwhelm field measurements.

"Once the ocean-atmosphere system was isolated, we can systematically probe how changes in the seawater due to biological activity affect the composition and climate properties of the sea spray aerosol," said Prather, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry who holds a joint appointment at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

In their studies, seawater is pumped directly from the Pacific Ocean into a specially modified enclosed wave flume in the Hydraulics Laboratory at Scripps Oceanography. By stringently filtering the air within the wave chamber, the team eliminated contamination from other sources allowing them to probe sea spray aerosol directly for the first time after it was produced by breaking waves.

Over five days, the team systematically altered biological communities within the flume by adding various combinations of cultures of marine bacteria and microscopic marine algae, or phytoplankton. Then, as a hydraulic paddle sent waves breaking over an artificial shoal, instruments positioned along the 33 meter long flume measured the chemistry of the seawater, air, and aerosols.

As the seawater changed and bacteria levels increased, the resulting aerosols showed a major change in composition leading to a reduction in their ability to form clouds. In particular, a day after new cultures were added, bacteria levels rose fivefold and cloud-seeding potential fell by about a third.

These changes were happening even as the concentration of phytoplankton fell, along with levels of chlorophyll-a, the pigment essential to photosynthesis. This is an important finding because current estimates of biological activity in surface waters of the ocean rely on instruments aboard satellites that measure the color of the sea surface, which changes along with levels of chlorophyll-a.

The findings demonstrate the value of the Center's novel approach for sorting through the interdependent factors governing the effects of the ocean and sea spray on climate.

Co-authors include scientists from UC San Diego's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Iowa, Colorado State University, California Institute of Technology, University of the Pacific, UC Davis, Northwestern University and Centre National de Recherches Meteorologiques. The National Science Foundation's Center for Chemical Innovation supports the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment (CHE 1038028).

.


Related Links
University of California - San Diego
The Air We Breathe at TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





BLUE SKY
Celebrating NASA's CINDI on Its Fifth Anniversary
Greenbelt, MD (SPX) Apr 18, 2013
On April 16, 2008, a suite of NASA instruments was launched into space to study a unique region of Earth's upper atmosphere: the electrically charged region called the ionosphere. The instruments, known collectively as CINDI (Coupled Ion-Neutral Dynamics Investigation), fly aboard an Air Force Research Laboratory satellite called C/NOFS (Communications/Navigation Outage Forecasting System) to st ... read more


BLUE SKY
U.S. lawyer defends Australian asylum seekers

Landslide kills 14 in Ecuador

Pakistan quake victims burn tyres at angry protests

Hong Kong searches for 6 missing crew after boat crash

BLUE SKY
US eases export rules on aerospace parts

MEADS Low Frequency Sensor Cues Multifunction Fire Control Radar in Test

Ontario Air Cadets Take Flight in Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D Simulation Software

Softening steel problem expands computer model applications

BLUE SKY
Rivers Act As 'Horizontal cooling towers'

New Caledonia bans shark fishing

New NASA Satellite Takes the Salton Sea's Temperature

Climate scientists say Asian monsoon forecasts could improve

BLUE SKY
Sea stalactites provide clues to origin of life

Chinese ship sinks off Antarctica: Chile

Age matters to Antarctic clams

An SwRI-led remote-sensing study quantifies permafrost degradation in Arctic Alaskan wetlands

BLUE SKY
Deep, Permeable Soils Buffer Impacts of Agricultural Fertilization on Streams and Rivers in Southern Amazon

Ecology, economy and management of an agro-industrial Amazon frontier

Double cropping helps Brazil develop

New studies explore mango's potential health-affirming properties

BLUE SKY
Measuring the hazards of global aftershock

Calculating tsunami risk for the US East Coast

A global murmur, then unusual silence

Superstorm Sandy shook the US

BLUE SKY
Nigeria amnesty panel says talks possible with Islamists

Scaled down US-Morocco war games resume: embassy

S.African leaders at odds on C.Africa troop re-deployment

France hands Timbuktu mission to Burkina Faso troops

BLUE SKY
Ancient skeletons reveal genetic 'history' of Europe's peoples

From mice to humans, comfort is being carried by mom

DNA study suggests human immunity to disease has ethnicity basis

Fascinating rhythm: The brain's 'slow waves'




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement