Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mobile climate monitoring facility to sample skies in Africa

20.01.2006


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program is placing a new, portable atmospheric laboratory with sophisticated instruments and data systems in Niger, Africa, to gain a better understanding of the potential impacts of Saharan dust on global climate.

Dust from Africa’s Sahara desert--the largest source of dust on the planet--reaches halfway around the globe. Carried by winds and clouds, the dust travels through West African, Mediterranean, and European skies, and across the Atlantic into North America. Unfortunately, Africa is one of the most under-sampled climate regimes in the world, leaving scientists to wonder about its contribution to global climate.

"As a point of origin for atmospheric disturbances that evolve into Atlantic storms, the Sahara is not only a driving force for the environmental conditions in Western Africa, but also for the development of weather systems that can reach the United States," said Dr. Raymond Orbach, Director of DOE’s Office of Science. "Our ability to predict the impact of the Saharan dust on weather and climate is dependent on gathering accurate and long-term data sets for computer models that simulate these effects."



Beginning in January, at a site in Niamey, Niger, the ARM Mobile Facility (AMF) will collect atmospheric data on absorbing aerosols from desert dust in the dry season, and deep convective clouds and large moisture generation during the summer monsoon. Measurements obtained by the AMF will provide information about heating and cooling (known as "radiative feedback") of the Earth’s atmosphere, the interaction of clouds with dust and aerosols, and West African monsoons. This will allow scientists to study possible reasons for the ongoing drought in West Africa and the genesis of tropical waves that may evolve into hurricanes.

Natural phenomena, such as the fine-powder dust found in the skies of Africa, present a particularly difficult challenge to scientists studying how dynamic cloud conditions affect the sun’s incoming and Earth’s outgoing energy and, in the longer term, our climate. As stated by President Bush, "The issue of climate change respects no border. With its potential to impact every corner of the world, climate change is an issue that must be addressed by the world."

Niger is located on the southern border of the Sahara, which covers most of North Africa. Niamey, its capital, is in southwest Niger, and is one of several sites throughout Western Africa involved in an international study known as the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis, or AMMA. Scientists involved in AMMA are using airplanes, satellites, and instrumented ground stations to collect data for studying the interactions between monsoon dynamics and scale, continental water cycle, aerosols, atmospheric chemistry, food, water, and health. The extended series of measurements from the AMF, combined with those from satellite instrumentation sponsored by the European Union, will provide the first well-sampled, direct measurements of the solar and thermal radiation across the atmosphere.

Scientists sponsored by the ARM Program focus on the goal of reducing uncertainty and improving the representation of clouds and radiative feedback processes in climate models. They accomplish this by analyzing data collected from state-of-the-art remote-sensing instruments and radars situated in three primary climate regimes--high latitudes in Alaska, mid-latitudes at the Southern Great Plains in Oklahoma, and low latitudes in the Tropical Western Pacific. The portability of the AMF now allows scientists to study different climates--like the hot and dusty Sahara--for up to one year.

The AMF consists of two lightweight shelters and a baseline suite of instruments, data communications, and data systems. Its measurement capabilities include standard meteorological instrumentation, a broadband and spectral radiometer suite, and remote sensing instruments. It can also accommodate instruments in addition to, or in place of, the baseline collection. Numerous DOE laboratories are involved in the scientific and operational capabilities of the AMF, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Data obtained by the AMF during the international AMMA project will enable scientists to study the impact of Saharan dust on cloud properties and atmospheric absorption of radiation and to better quantify the impact of dust on cloud formation, precipitation, storm creation, and cloud dynamics. Ultimately, this information will help to improve model simulations of global climate, as well as increase scientific understanding of the influence of the West African Monsoon on the physical, chemical, and biological environment, both regionally and globally.

Jeff Sherwood | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.doe.gov
http://www.arm.gov

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core
24.05.2018 | University of Washington

nachricht Tropical Peat Swamps: Restoration of Endangered Carbon Reservoirs
24.05.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

If solubilty is the problem - Mechanochemistry is the solution

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Investigating cell membranes: researchers develop a substance mimicking a vital membrane component

25.05.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>