Navigation Links
Scripps scientists will assess Beijing Olympics air pollution control efforts

As the Summer Olympics in Beijing kicks off today, the event is affording scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe how the atmosphere responds when a heavily populated region substantially curbs everyday industrial emissions.

The National Science Foundation-funded Cheju ABC Plume-Monsoon Experiment (CAPMEX) will include a series of flights by specially equipped unmanned aircraft known as autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (AUAVs) that were developed at Scripps. Instruments on the aircraft can measure smog and its effects on meteorological conditions. Data-gathering flights of the aircraft will originate at the South Korean island of Cheju, located about 1,165 kilometers (725 miles) southeast of Beijing and in the projected path of pollution plumes originating in various cities in China including the capital. That information will be combined with concurrent measurements being made by satellites and observatories on the ground that will track the transport of dust, soot and other pollution aerosols that travel from Beijing and other parts of China in so-called atmospheric brown clouds.

The instruments are observing pollution transport patterns as Beijing enacts its "great shutdown" for the Summer Olympic Games. Chinese officials have compelled reductions in industrial activity by as much as 30 percent and cuts in automobile use by half to safeguard the health of competing athletes immediately before and during the games.

"Thanks to the concern of Olympic organizers and the cooperation of the Korean government, we have a huge and unprecedented opportunity to observe a large reduction in everyday emissions from a region that is very industrially active," said Scripps Oceanography climate and atmospheric sciences professor V. Ramanathan, the principal investigator of CAPMEX.

"CAPMEX is going to be the very first UAV campaign in east Asia for air pollution and cloud interaction studies," added CAPMEX field campaign co-principal investigator Soon-Chang Yoon, a researcher at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Seoul National University in Korea. "This will be a very interesting experiment that can never happen again."

Satellite and ground observations began Aug. 1. Pre-inspection test flights are scheduled to begin Aug. 9 and the field campaign is expected to run through Sept. 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. The scientists conducted their first successful experiment using AUAV data in the skies over the Indian Ocean during the 2005-2006 Maldives AUAV Campaign. Currently the Scripps researchers are also using the aircraft in the California AUAV Air Pollution Profiling Study, a nine-month-long survey of air pollution over Southern California.

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 of soot and size of the aerosols upon which cloud droplets form. The instruments also record variables such as temperature, humidity and the intensity of sunlight that permeates clouds and masses of smog.

For CAPMEX, photonics instruments will be added to the aircrafts' payloads to help calculate the specific contributions of various aerosols to atmospheric heating. Other new instruments such as auto-leveling platforms will enable researchers to improve estimates of how much dimming of sunlight takes place at the ocean surface because of pollution aerosols in the atmosphere.

"Ramanathan's earlier research on atmospheric brown clouds demonstrated their importance in how solar energy is distributed throughout the polluted regions of our atmosphere," said Jay Fein, NSF program director for climate dynamics. "CAPMEX takes his work an important step forward with new innovative micro- and nano-sensor technologies that will provide additional quantitative 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."


Contact: Rob Monroe or Mario Aguilera
University of California - San Diego

Related biology news :

1. Scripps scientists discover fluorescence in key marine creature
2. Scripps research team blocks bacterial communication system to prevent deadly staph infections
3. Scripps scientists develop new tests that identify lethal prion strains quickly and accurately
4. Scripps Research discovery leads to broad potential applications in CovX-Pfizer deal
5. Scripps expedition provides new baseline for coral reef conservation
6. Bright lights: Mystery of glowing antibody solved by Scripps research scientists
7. Fishing throws targeted species off balance, Scripps study shows
8. Scripps Oceanography Research pegs ID of red tide killer
9. Scripps Research Institute awarded patent for remarkable chemical technology
10. Scripps research scientists reveal key structure from ebola virus
11. Scripps study sets high economic value on threatened Mexican mangroves
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scripps scientists will assess Beijing Olympics air pollution control efforts
(Date:11/9/2015)...  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), the leading ... into the automotive market with a comprehensive and dedicated ... consumer electronics human interface innovation. Synaptics, industry-leading touch controllers, ... automotive industry and will be implemented in numerous locations ... , Japan , and ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has ... to provide preclinical development services to the National Cancer ... SRI will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support ... of preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential ... --> The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig ... report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and ... Department of Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic ... 2010. --> --> ... also has the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Md. , Nov. 30, 2015 ... development company committed to the fostering and monetization ... the current and prospective initiatives designed to create ... Chief Executive Officer of Spherix. "Based on published ... future licensees exceeds $50 billion and Spherix will ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Champions Oncology, Inc. (CSBR), ... services to personalize the development and use of oncology ... Executive Officer, will be presenting at the LD MICRO ... Pacific Standard Time (PST).  The conference, held at the ... Angeles, CA , will feature 200 small/micro-cap companies ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 TapImmune, Inc. ... of innovative peptide and gene-based immunotherapeutics and vaccines for ... it will be presenting at the 8 th ... at 2.30 PM PT. Dr. John N. Bonfiglio ... be giving the presentation and will join TapImmune management ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Aytu BioScience, Inc. (OTCQB: ... and related conditions, will present at two upcoming investor ... an interactive real-time virtual conference, to be held December ... Conference, to be held December 2 nd & ... and streamed live via webcast. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: