Mobile atmospheric lab gathering climate data
Scientists sponsored by the Department of Energy are conducting a six-month atmospheric research campaign at the Point Reyes National Seashore, in Marin County, California. The experiments goal is to help researchers understand how aerosols --small particles such as soot, dust and smoke--influence the structure of marine stratus clouds, and how aerosols are associated with drizzle – the misty rain regularly produced by these types of clouds. The scientists think aerosols, which can come from both natural and manmade sources, may be reducing coastal drizzle while increasing cloud cover.
Marine stratus clouds are thin, low-level clouds that cover the sky like a blanket. They are some of the most prevalent clouds on earth, and are an important component of the earths climate system. Despite their importance to the earth-ocean-atmosphere system, relatively few comprehensive data sets about marine stratus clouds are available for scientists to draw firm conclusions related to aerosol effects. To obtain more, and better, data, researchers need to go to the source. The departments Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program is helping them do just that.
Jeff Sherwood | EurekAlert!
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