Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists: Polar ice clouds may be climate change symptom

22.08.2007
As the late summer sun sets in the Arctic, bands of wispy, luminescent clouds shine against the deep blue of the northern sky.

To the casual observer, they may simply be a curiosity, dismissed as the waning light of the midnight sun. But to scientists, these noctilucent ice clouds could be an upper-atmospheric symptom of a changing climate.

“The question which everyone in Alaska is dealing with is what are the symptoms of climate change and, as in medicine, how do these symptoms reflect the underlying processes,” said Richard Collins, a researcher at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “It is believed that [these clouds] are an indicator of climate change.”

Dozens of scientists from several countries will gather at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Aug. 20-23 to discuss the latest findings on noctilucent clouds and other phenomena of the earth’s upper atmosphere during the Eighth International Workshop on Layered Phenomena in the Mesopause Region. Sessions will include information on the latest ground-based and satellite data on the mesopause region, an area of the atmosphere 50 miles above Earth’s surface and the site of the coldest atmospheric temperatures.

Noctilucent clouds form under conditions that counter common logic. They only form in the summer, when solar radiation is most intense, Collins said. That solar heating, rather than warming the mesopause, causes cooling, he said. “The mesopause region is colder in summer under perpetual daylight than it is in winter under perpetual darkness.”

The reason lies in the movement of air within the atmosphere, Collins said. Solar radiation heats the lower atmosphere, causing a rising cell of air over the summer pole, he said. “As the air rises it cools and that beats out the radiative heating.” Those cold temperatures allow the ice clouds to form in the mesopause. The clouds could serve as an indicator of climate change because an increase in carbon dioxide, which causes heating in the lower atmosphere, causes cooling in the upper atmosphere.

Collins said the noctilucent clouds are a relatively new phenomenon. History indicates that humans first recorded their presence in the 19th century, he said. Satellite and ground-based data has been limited, he said, but it appears that the clouds have become more prevalent over time. A new satellite, Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, was launched in April 2007 to observe clouds and their environment in the mesopause, Collins said scientists are looking forward to having more reliable data, which could contribute to a broader understanding of the upper atmosphere, noctilucent clouds and how both fit into the climate system.

CONTACT: Richard Collins, associate professor of atmospheric science, at (907) 474-7607 or via e-mail at rlc@gi.alaska.edu. Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at (907) 474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@uaf.edu .

Marmian Grimes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uaf.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target
22.05.2018 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

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

Turning entanglement upside down

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>