Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sea Spray Aerosols May Affect Ice Cloud Formation and Global Climate

10.09.2015

The finding by Stony Brook researchers and international colleagues published in Nature

Scientists believe that the thin film on the ocean’s surface, which is involved in the formation of sea spray, holds many mysteries that impact our atmosphere and world. A team of Stony Brook University and international researchers may have discovered one key role of this thin layer. They found that biogenic materials in the layer may affect ice cloud formation and thus climate on a global scale, particularly when other known ice forming particles such as mineral dust are scarce or absent. Their findings are detailed in a paper published in Nature.


Stony Brook University

Ice formation initiated by sea spray aerosol particles as observed using the Knopf ice nucleation apparatus coupled to optical microscopy. The ice crystals grow (panels left to right) as relative humidity is increased.

Sea spray aerosol, containing salt and various organic compounds produced by phytoplankton and other microorganisms in surface ocean waters, is emitted by the bursting of bubbles formed by breaking waves and is one of the major sources of particles in the atmosphere. The research groups of Daniel A. Knopf, PhD, in the Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres in Stony Brook’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), and Josephine Aller, PhD, of SoMAS, are working to unravel the complicated relationship between microorganisms in ocean surface waters, organic compounds in sea spray, and ice cloud formation, which in turn affects precipitation and climate.

“How natural aerosol particles affect the radiative properties of clouds is poorly understood and is one of the largest uncertainties in the prediction of future climate changes,” said Professor Knopf. “But our international collaborative brought together the scientific expertise to show that the sea surface microlayer contains ice nucleating organic material released by phytoplankton.”

In the paper, “A marine biogenic source of atmospheric ice-nucleating particles,” the research team studied the source of marine ice nucleating particles through the use of field instruments during several oceanic cruises, laboratory ice nucleation measurements, and state-of-the-art synchrotron X-ray single particle analysis, using facilities at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Advanced Light Source.

Professors Knopf and Aller with their students showed that dissolved organic material released by a common ocean phytoplankton species grown in the laboratory could form ice under temperatures and relative humidity typical of the atmosphere. The Stony Brook team further demonstrated that field collected surface ocean microlayer film material capable of ice nucleation is physicochemically similar to the organic material released by the laboratory culture.

These findings, in combination with ice nucleation experiments using the Arctic microlayer samples, led the international team to conclude that biogenic ice nucleating particles present in material released by phytoplankton are a good candidate for the source of activity observed in the sampled microlayers. It is known that sea spray aerosol is often associated with phytoplankton material. This suggests that some fraction of sea spray aerosol particles will be capable of forming ice in the atmosphere.

Armed with these data, the international team developed a global model incorporating sea spray aerosol emissions and ice formation efficiencies measured in the laboratory to unambiguously link phytoplankton with particles that form ice in the atmosphere.

“The application of this model to assess the transport of marine ice nucleating particles to cold atmospheric regions allowed us to infer that marine ice nucleating particles can be compared to dust sources in large parts of the Southern Ocean, the North Atlantic and the North Pacific,” explained Professor Knopf. “This leads us to conclude that oceans are potentially a major source of naturally occurring ice forming particles in the atmosphere.”

International research team members involved in the study come from 11 universities or institutions in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The research is supported in part by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Contact Information
Gregory Filiano
Manager of Media Relations, School of Medicine
Gregory.Filiano@stonybrook.edu
Phone: 631-444-9343

http://www.stonybrook.edu

Gregory Filiano | newswise

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA examines newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D
26.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle
25.04.2017 | Rice University

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

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

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA examines newly formed Tropical Depression 3W in 3-D

26.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering

26.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>