Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NCAR model shows decrease in global dust by 2100

09.12.2003


One of the first global-scale simulations of dust and climate from preindustrial times to the year 2100 projects a worldwide decrease in airborne dust of 20–63% by the end of this century. The computer model studies show less wind, more moisture, and enhanced vegetation in desert areas as carbon dioxide increases over the next century, keeping more of the world’s dust on the ground. Coauthor Natalie Mahowald of the National Center for Atmospheric Research presented the results this week at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in San Francisco.



"Reductions in global dust levels could have a profound impact on future climate predictions," says Mahowald. Dust helps to lower global temperature by reflecting sunlight, as well as by depositing iron in the ocean and thus fertilizing marine organisms that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Mahowald and Chao Luo (University of California, Santa Barbara) combined NCAR’s global Climate System Model with other software specifically tailored to simulate dust under a variety of climate regimes. The climate changes are driven primarily by an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from 280 parts per million in 1890 (preindustrial) to 500 ppm by 2090--a scenario considered reasonable by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


The NCAR simulation shows decreasing winds and increasing moisture across arid, low-lying regions such as the Sahara, which produce much of the world’s dust. It also includes the process through which a gradual increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide may stimulate photosynthesis of plants in arid regions, which in turn would reduce the extent of unvegetated areas and the dust they produce.

Mahowald and Luo examined six different scenarios for the interaction of plants and climate across each of three decades: 1880–1889 (preindustrial), 1990-1999, and 2090–2099. For the six scenarios, the decrease in extent of desert dust sources in 2090–2099 compared to 1990–1999 ranges from 0 to 39 percent. The decrease in how much dust gets entrained into the atmosphere is even more dramatic: from 20 to 63 percent, depending on the scenario.

The wide variation among scenarios highlights the uncertainty in this new area of research, says Mahowald. She believes that climate assessments such as those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may be underestimating both the magnitude and the uncertainty of dust’s global impact on climate.

"There is substantial spread in the model projections for climate close to large arid regions such as the Sahel," says Mahowald. "It is very difficult to predict whether particular regions will get wetter or drier."


The research was funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s primary sponsor.

Anatta | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucar.edu/ucar/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds
25.07.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht NASA flights gauge summer sea ice melt in the Arctic
25.07.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>