Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


British scientists go cloud-hopping in the Pacific to improve climate predictions

Press release issued by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the University of Manchester, University of Leeds and University of Reading

A 20-strong -team of cloud and climate experts from the UK's National Centre for Atmospheric Science will today set off for Chile to investigate how massive swathes of clouds that hang over the Pacific are affecting climate and weather all round the world, including the UK. This new £3M project aims to reduce some of the largest errors currently in our climate models and thus greatly improve predictions of future climate change.

These immense clouds - often exceeding the area of the USA in size - are believed to be central to global climate because they act like a colossal mirror, reflecting sunlight back into space and substantially reducing the amount of energy reaching the Earth's surface. They also help keep the ocean cool beneath them. Both of these effects greatly impact the amount of heat transported to the tropical Pacific affecting its climate and having a knock-on effect for weather around the world.

During this month-long expedition scientists will determine how and why these clouds form so that they can be more accurately represented in global climate models. Joining forces with the UK Met Office, the team will fly in two UK research aircraft, swooping in and out of these vast, low-lying clouds, collecting detailed measurements that describe the clouds' properties.

Using newly developed cloud and dust probes fitted to the aircraft, the scientists will determine exactly how the clouds form, how reflective they are and what determines their lifetime. Importantly, they aim to establish whether man-made pollution, from extensive mining activities along the Chilean and Peruvian coasts plays a significant role in changing cloud properties. Tiny particles emitted during mining vastly increase the number of water droplets that form in the clouds and may affect how much rain they produce. The scientists will also find out whether clouds made from these particles are more reflective than cleaner clouds so having a greater affect on climate.

Lead scientist, Professor Hugh Coe from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science said: "These are some of the largest cloud systems in the world and we know they must play a very significant role in climate change, yet we know that climate models do not represent them very well. This campaign is a fantastic opportunity to make cutting-edge measurements in a unique environment and merge them with state-of-the-art climate models. By working closely with the Met Office and international colleagues in this way, we hope to finally hit some of the uncertainties in current climate models on the head"

This UK project forms part of a much larger international programme of work called VOCALS (VAMOS Ocean Cloud Atmosphere Land Study), which considers in detail the complex feedbacks between clouds, ocean, land (the Andes) and how these affect the global climate. The UK team will be joining forces with over 200 other international scientists from 10 different countries to carry out the field campaign, and a total of 5 research aircraft and two research vessels will be involved.

Dr Louisa Watts | NCAScomms
Further information:

Further reports about: Atmospheric climate models cloud-hopping clouds future climate change

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>