Navigation Links
Scientists demonstrate the sharpest measurement of ice crystals in clouds
Date:7/17/2008

WASHINGTON, July 17----Scientists have created an instrument designed to help determine the shapes and sizes of tiny ice crystals typical of those found in high-altitude clouds, down to the micron level (comparable to the tiniest cells in the human body), according to a new study in Optics Letters, a journal published by the Optical Society. The data produced using this instrument likely will help improve computer models used to predict climate change.

Among the hundreds of factors climate scientists must take into account in modeling weather, the nature of clouds is one of the most important and least understood. The best researchers could do in the past to measure cloud ice crystals was to try to record images of them, but for crystals below 25 microns, the images were too blurred to allow accurate determination of the crystal's shape.

Researchers need to know the shape and sizes of these ice crystals because these properties influence how much incoming sunlight gets absorbed in the atmosphere and how much gets reflected right back out into space. This, in turn, can have a huge impact on the magnitude of possible global warming or cooling.

Now scientists from the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and Colorado State University in the United States have developed an optical scattering instrument that can evaluate the size of the crystals in a different way. Using this instrument, the researchers have been able to determine sizes and shapes of cloud ice crystals all the way down to the tiniest micron levels.

The research team actually has built two versions of the instrument: one designed to operate on ground-based cloud simulation chambers or to operate in the fuselage of research aircraft; the other, an aerodynamic version that fits under the wing of the aircraft and measures the cloud particles directly as the aircraft flies through the cloud. Neither instrument attempts to make a full image of the ice crystal, since this would suffer the same resolution limits of existing instruments. Instead they record the detailed pattern of scattered light from each individual crystal and then interpret these patterns using either theoretical models or by comparison with recorded patterns from known crystal shapes. From this data a crystal census of varying sizes and shapes can be made.

"The new instruments should help map out a more complete understanding of complex crystal shapes found in atmospheric clouds, especially cirrus clouds, which on any day can cover more than 20 percent of the Earth's surface," says one of the researchers, Hertfordshire scientist Paul Kaye. "We believe that this optical scattering instrument could help climate modelers reduce one of the greatest areas of uncertainty in interpreting the influence of clouds and in making more accurate climate predictions."

In addition, recent reports have examined the effect that pollution and the clouds caused by pollution have on reducing solar radiation reaching the ground, a development that may counterbalance global warming to some extent, and this new technology could help scientists better monitor and understand this situation.


'/>"/>

Contact: Colleen Morrison
cmorri@osa.org
202-416-1437
Optical Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists demonstrate means of reducing Alzheimers-like plaques in fly brain
2. Scientists discover key patterns in the packaging of genes
3. Scripps research scientists reveal key structure from ebola virus
4. Scientists learn how food affects the brain
5. Scientists discover new reefs teeming with marine life in Brazil
6. Normal-looking sperm may have serious damage; scientists urge more care in selection
7. Biodiversity maps developed by UCSD scientists will help guide conservation measures in East Africa
8. Scientists integrate data in three dimensions to study climate effects on young fish
9. Scientists set out to measure how we perceive naturalness
10. Scientists reveal the key mechanisms for affinity between transient binding proteins
11. Tree-killing fungus officially named by scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/15/2016)... , June 15, 2016 ... report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry ... - 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture ... in 2015 and is estimated to grow at ... billion by 2024.  Increasing application of ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... Dollar project, for the , Supply and Delivery ... IT Infrastructure , to Decatur ... Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in the ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. The ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited to ... VoicePass. By working together, VoiceIt and ... VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different approaches to ... both security and usability. ... this new partnership. "This marketing and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... DIEGO , June 24, 2016 ... more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors ... circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has ... HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Mass. , June 23, 2016   ... development of novel compounds designed to target cancer ... napabucasin, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from ... the treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction ... stemness inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased ... and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case ... Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer ... could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer ...
Breaking Biology Technology: