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 sees quick development of Hurricane Dora
27.06.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos
27.06.2017 | CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>