Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NOAA Scientists to Search Tropical Skies for Answers on Climate Change, Ozone Loss

From this week's news at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

"Scientists from NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab will be among 400 researchers in Costa Rica this summer to probe one of the most complex and least observed regions of Earth’s atmosphere during the rainy season. Based in San Jose, Costa Rica, the NASA-led field study will shed light on key processes related to climate change, the stratospheric ozone layer, and global chemistry. The study runs from July 2 through August 15.

"ESRL’s David Fahey and colleagues from NOAA and the University of Colorado will fly instruments aboard NASA’s high-altitude WB-57 aircraft to gather data on black carbon particles [produced by fossil fuel burning], ozone, water vapor and particle composition, as well as air pressure and temperature.

"By absorbing sunlight and heating the air, black carbon can change atmospheric circulation and precipitation, but the processes involved are unclear. For example, how black carbon influences clouds and how clouds remove it from the atmosphere remain an unsolved puzzle. Scientists know so little about black carbon that any direct observations are important, Fahey said." [Read more]

While at the NOAA Web site, slip on over to NOAA's Central Library. There you will find a treasure trove of digital images, including scanned pages from historical and rare monographs, charts and maps, and access to the NOAA Photo Library.