. Earth Science News .

Climate sensitivity greater than previously believed
by Staff Writers
Gothenburg, Sweden (SPX) Dec 22, 2011

Kent Salo measures particles in the Aida chamber, located at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany. Credit: Photo: University of Gothenburg.

Many of the particles in the atmosphere are produced by the natural world, and it is possible that plants have in recent decades reduced the effects of the greenhouse gases to which human activity has given rise.

One consequence of this is that the climate may be more sensitive to emissions caused by human activity than we have previously believed. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) have collected new data that may lead to better climate models.

"Emissions by plants to the atmosphere are influenced by climate change - higher temperatures can increase the rate of the biological processes that control the emissions. If natural emissions increase as the temperature rises, this in turn increases the amount of particles that are formed", says Kent Salo of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Gothenburg

The interactions between particles and the climate constitute a very complex web of processes.

The particles in the atmosphere consist to a large part of organic substances, which may arise from incomplete combustion in engines or boilers. Such substances may also arise from plant growth. Emissions from plants occur as gases, and are greater than emissions from other sources, in a global perspective.

Once released into the atmosphere, the gases from plants are converted by many chemical processes, such that they can eventually condense and form particles.

The particles that are formed in chemical reactions in the atmosphere are known as "secondary organic aerosols" (abbreviated to "SOA"), and consist of a complex mixture of organic substances.

The particles age and change with time, and this process influences the effects that the particles have on human health and on the climate.

"Particles in the atmosphere basically have a cooling effect on the Earth, and they affect cloud formation. The greater the number of particles in the air, the greater will be the number of cloud droplets.

This affects the lifetime of the clouds and the amounts of precipitation, and consequently, the climate. Today, we do not have a fundamental understanding of how SOA particles are formed and the properties they have, despite them being an important component of, for example, climate models."

Kent Salo has studied organic substances that are known to be components of particles in the atmosphere and how their physical properties can be used in models to understand the complicated systems that the SOAs constitute, and the effect they have on the climate.

In order to study these processes, Kent Salo has developed a special instrument that measures the degree to which the particles evaporate when they are heated. He has carried out experiments at several major research facilities in Europe using this instrument.

Related Links
University of Gothenburg
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. 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

Climate Change May Bring Big Ecosystem Changes
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 19, 2011
By 2100, global climate change will modify plant communities covering almost half of Earth's land surface and will drive the conversion of nearly 40 percent of land-based ecosystems from one major ecological community type - such as forest, grassland or tundra - toward another, according to a new NASA and university computer modeling study. Researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory ... read more

Tent cities loom for Philippine flood victims

Japan atomic regulators, TEPCO 'unprepared': panel

Room at the inn for Fukushima believers

Sad Christmas for Philippine flood victims

Landmark discovery has magnetic appeal for scientists

HokieSpeed, a new powerful supercomputer for the masses

New Take on Impacts of Low Dose Radiation

Need a new material? New tool can help

S. Korea to use special forces in fisheries crackdown

Electricity sparks new life into Indonesia's corals

Nitrogen from humans pollutes remote lakes for more than a century

Data-driven tools cast geographical patterns of rainfall extremes in new light

CryoSat ice satellite rides new waves

Season's greetings from the other extreme

Using new technology to record Antarctic Ocean, ice temperatures

Central Asian glaciers resist warming

Toxin found in Chinese milk

New tool offers unprecedented access for root studies

Southampton researchers help to outline world's land and water resources for food and agriculture

More Canadian farmers going high-tech

Tanzanian deluge kills 23

Fresh flood warning for Philippine disaster zone

Thais evacuate after big wave hits village: official

Quakes overshadow Christmas in New Zealand

Coup foiled in Guinea-Bissau, navy chief held

Bongo party wins landslide in Gabon vote: official

Fighter jets kill 10 in south Somali air raid: witnesses

First Djibouti troops join AU Somalia force

How to break Murphy's Law And Live To Tell The Tale

Human skull study causes evolutionary headache

Malaysian 'lords of the jungle' cling to ancient ways

Mind reading machines on their way: IBM


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. 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