Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pollution dispersion research aids understanding of 2002 break-up of Antarctic ozone hole

25.05.2010
The eruption of the volcano in Iceland has drawn attention to air flow patterns, as airlines lost millions of dollars and travelers remained stranded for days to weeks, as particles from the natural disaster traveled over Europe, forcing closures of major airports.

The flow of particles, although seemingly random, can be characterized more effectively, according to work done by Virginia Tech's Shane Ross of the engineering science and mechanics (ESM) department and his colleague Francois Lekien of École Polytechnique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, who reported their findings in the publication Chaos. http://chaos.aip.org/chaoeh/v20/i1

Their research "will aid scientists and engineers in understanding and in controlling this type of global-scale phenomena, such as pollution dispersion in the atmosphere and the ocean, and large-scale transport of biological organisms, including airborne plant pathogens and respiratory disease agents," said Ishwar Puri, head of the ESM department at Virginia Tech.

For example, the current British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, might be modeled using Ross and Lekien's findings to provide greater insight into how the particles might be dragged into the Gulf of Mexico's Loop Current.

In explaining how they conducted their research on the flow of particles, Ross and Lekien said they employed existing scientific principles of Lagrangian coherent structures, which reveals the separation of the atmosphere into dynamically distinct regions, to investigate the shapes of geophysical flow patterns. http://www.esm.vt.edu/person.php?id=10139

They used the 2002 discovery of the Antarctic Hole in their work because they viewed it as a "prototype atmospheric event" allowing for their studies on topological divisions on the mixing and transport of atmospheric tracers.

As the media worldwide broadly publicized the finding of the Antarctic hole, it became the focus of the atmospheric science community. As Ross described the event, when the ozone hole split in two, allowing one of its fragments or regions to reassert its position over the Antarctic Pole while the other one spread into the mid-latitude regions, it implied "a sudden stratospheric warming."

This type of global warming occurs in roughly half of all winters in the Arctic. The scientific explanation, Ross said, is "they are produced by the dynamic momentum force resulting from the breaking and dissipation of planetary-scale Rossby waves in the stratosphere."

This phenomenon had never been observed in the Antarctic prior to 2002, according to reliable records that go back some 50 years. Consequently, Ross and Lekien labeled it a "prototype" of rare atmospheric events.

Reviewing data from the event, they were able to determine that an isolated "blob of air" was slowly rotating over Antarctica. Lagrangian coherent structures, some which repel nearby air and some that attract it, formed inside the vortex. The vortex pinched off, sending the northwestern part of the ozone hole off into the mid latitude range while the southwestern portion returned to its regular position over the South Pole.

Consequently, they write, when there is more than one vortex flow on a sphere, such as the planet Earth, "complicated spatial structures can arise and evolve, such as the polar vortex split." They were able to model this event, capturing some of its dynamic features.

"This model is very relevant both in atmospheric and oceanographic settings when one considers large-scale phenomena where the spatial geometry of the Earth's surface becomes important. The full spherical geometry, as opposed to tangent plane approximations, is particularly important when considering global streamline patterns generated by a given vorticity distribution…These patterns, in turn, provide the dynamical templates by which one can begin to understand the chaotic advection of particles in a vortex-dominated flow."

Virginia Tech's College of Engineering is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. As the nation's third largest producer of engineers with baccalaureate degrees, undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a hands-on, minds-on approach to engineering education. It complements classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study, including biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.

Lynn Nystrom | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu
http://www.eng.vt.edu/main/index.php

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>