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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's 2010 AGU tip sheet
Date:12/10/2010

TE: Alla Zelenyuk will be speaking in place of Josef Beranek


Focus on tiny aerosols reveals bigger climate picture
Mini climate model-within-a-model explains cloud behavior

Typical global climate models have difficulty showing how clouds and aerosols tiny natural and manmade bits of dirt, soot and other particles in the air influence the Earth's climate. Such models primarily use grids that divide the atmosphere into 100-kilometer square chunks of air. But most clouds are less than 10 kilometers in size, making them small blips on the larger maps of global models. PNNL climate scientist Steve Ghan will present the Multi-Scale Modeling Framework Approach, which zooms in on clouds by creating miniature computer models of the water content and updraft winds within clouds. These mini models more accurately show how aerosols influence clouds by acting as seeds for cloud droplets and how clouds wash aerosols from the sky. The mini model is then inserted into each 100-kilometer cell of a global climate model. A national research team led by PNNL used the approach to more accurately predict how much aerosols scatter and absorb sunlight, affect cloud droplet formation and impact how much light clouds reflect. Observations of Arctic air, for example, show the PNNL model simulates aerosol concentrations about 10 times more accurately than a traditional climate model. This suggests that the effect manmade aerosols have on climate change can be more realistically simulated than it is with current global models. (Contact: Franny White, frances.white@pnl.gov, 509-375-6904.)

A22C-08: Cloud-Aerosol Interactions in a Multiscale Aerosol Climate Model, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 11:56 a.m., Moscone West, Room 3006.


Saharan dust makes for wetter African nights, drier days
Understanding dust's impact can help with global climate change predictions

The massive Sa
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Contact: Franny White
frances.white@pnl.gov
509-375-6904
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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