Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate studies to benefit from 12 years of satellite aerosol data

11.11.2009
Aerosols, very small particles suspended in the air, play an important role in the global climate balance and in regulating climate change. They are one of the greatest sources of uncertainty in climate change models. ESA's GlobAerosol project has been making the most of European satellite capabilities to monitor them.

Using data from the Along Track Scanning Radiometer-2 on the ERS-2 satellite, the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer and the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on Envisat and the Spinning Enhanced Visible & InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) instrument on the Meteosat Second Generation, GlobAerosol has produced a global aerosol dataset going back to 1995. The full dataset is available on the GlobAerosol website.

Some aerosols occur naturally, originating from sea-spray, wind-blown dust, volcanic eruptions and biochemical emissions from oceans and forests, while others are produced through emissions from industrial pollution, fossil-fuel burning, man-made forest fires and agriculture.

They are important because they strongly affect Earth’s energy balance in two ways: they scatter and absorb sunlight and infrared emission from Earth's surface, and act as condensation nuclei for the formation of cloud droplets. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, these effects tend to cool the planet to almost the same degree as carbon dioxide emissions warm it. These estimates are uncertain, however, so more data are needed.

Satellite data can provide essential information on the global distribution of aerosols to help understand the impact of these processes for the purposes of predicting weather and climate as well as for monitoring the transport of industrial pollution.

To investigate the usefulness of the dataset, pilot studies were carried out by six atmospheric modelling groups from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l'Environnement, the University of Leeds, the University of Edinburgh, the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). Comparing the satellite data with the model predictions showed differences that helped to highlight deficiencies in both.

Results of the pilot studies were presented during ESA’s Atmospheric Science Conference held in Barcelona, Spain, in September. Maria Grazia Frontoso, working on the development of the GLOMAP aerosol model at the University of Leeds in the UK said: "GlobAerosol seems to be a very useful tool to address uncertainties in global models."

Arjo Segers from TNO in the Netherlands compared GlobAerosol data with model predictions of desert dust and forest fires over the Iberian peninsular. "The results of this study suggest that the GlobAerosol SEVIRI dataset is especially useful for investigating aerosol levels over water."

Still, more work is needed to address the problems highlighted in the intercomparison study of the models, and to improve the overall accuracy of the satellite aerosol data. The valuable feedback obtained from the users will help to lay the foundation for the development of more accurate satellite-based aerosol measurements as part of ESA’s new Climate Change Initiative.

The GlobAerosol project was carried out by GMV (Spain), the University of Oxford (UK), Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK) and Laboratoire Optique Atmospherique (France) and funded by the Data User Element under ESA’s Earth Observation Envelope Programme.

Mariangela D'Acunto | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past
28.04.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Citizen science campaign to aid disaster response
28.04.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>