"Ramanathan's earlier research on atmospheric brown clouds demonstrated their importance in the polluted regions of the atmosphere," said Jay Fein, NSF program director for climate dynamics. "CAPMEX takes this work an important step forward with new micro- and nano-sensor technologies. These technologies will provide new estimates of solar irradiance, aerosol-cloud interactions, climate forcing and important components of the biogeochemical cycles of the East Asian and western Pacific Ocean region."
Satellite and ground observations began on August 1. Pre-inspection test flights are scheduled to begin August 9, with the field campaign expected to run through September 30.
"Black carbon in soot is a major contributor to global warming," said Ramanathan. "By determining the effects of soot reductions during the Olympics on atmospheric heating, we can gain much needed insights into the magnitude of future global warming."
Ramanathan's team has revolutionized the gathering of atmospheric data through the use of AUAVs that enable researchers to form dimensional profiles of clouds and other atmospheric masses at relatively low cost.
In previous studies, meteorological data gathered by the aircraft helped demonstrate that atmospheric brown clouds can diminish the solar radiation that reaches Earth's surface, warm the atmosphere at low altitudes and disrupt cloud formation.
With CAPMEX, scientists hope to improve their ability to deliver such assessments of particulate pollution effects more rapidly and enhance their value as a policymaking tool.
Miniaturized instruments on the aircraft measure a range of properties such as the quantity o
|Contact: Cheryl Dybas|
National Science Foundation