Navigation Links
Spring agricultural fires have large impact on melting Arctic
Date:5/26/2009

DURHAM, N.H. - Scientists from around the world will convene at the University of New Hampshire June 2-5, 2009, to discuss key findings from the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to measure "short-lived" airborne pollutants in the Arctic and determine how they contribute in the near term to the dramatic changes underway in the vast, climate-sensitive region.

The two-year international field campaign known as POLARCAT was conducted most intensively during two three-week periods last spring and summer and focused on the transport of pollutants into the Arctic from lower latitudes.

One surprise discovery was that large-scale agricultural burning in Russia, Kazakhstan, China, the U.S., Canada, and the Ukraine is having a much greater impact than previously thought.

A particular threat is posed by springtime burning - to remove crop residues for new planting or clear brush for grazing - because the black carbon or soot produced by the fires can lead to accelerated melting of snow and ice.

Soot, which is produced through incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuels, may account for as much as 30 percent of Arctic warming to date, according to recent estimates. Soot can warm the surrounding air and, when deposited on ice and snow, absorb solar energy and add to the melting process.

In addition to soot, other short-lived pollutants include ozone and methane. Although global warming is largely the result of excess accumulation of carbon dioxide, the Arctic is highly sensitive to short-lived pollutants. Forest fires, agricultural burning, primitive cookstoves, and diesel fuel are the primary sources of black carbon; oil and gas activities and landfills are major sources of methane.

During the UNH workshop, a report by the Clean Air Task Force detailing some of the campaign's findings on agricultural burning and transport to the Arctic will be officially released.

"Targeting these emissions offers a supplemental and parallel strategy to carbon dioxide reductions, with the advantage of a much faster temperature response, and the benefit of health risk reductions," says Ellen Baum, senior scientist of the Clean Air Task Force. "In addition, we have the know-how to control these pollutants today."

The report notes that during April, at the beginning portion of the field campaign in Northern Alaska, aircraft-based researchers were surprised to find 50 smoke plumes originating from fires in Eurasia more than 3,000 miles away. Analysis of the plumes, combined with satellite images, revealed the smoke came from agricultural fires in Northern Kazakhstan-Southern Russia and from forest fires in Southern Siberia. The emissions from fires far outweighed those from fossil fuels, the report states.

"These fires weren't part of our standard predictions, they weren't in our models," says Daniel Jacob, a professor of atmospheric chemistry and environmental engineering at Harvard. Jacob participated in a portion of the campaign known as ARCTAS, which used NASA's DC-8 "flying laboratory" to sample plumes of air over Arctic regions in Alaska and Canada.

The international team of scientists used satellites, instrumented aircraft, ocean-going ships, and ground stations to track and analyze pollution transported into the region.

UNH atmospheric chemist Jack Dibb of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space was also on the DC-8. "We're in agreement that these short-lived pollutants are critical in the Arctic. This meeting is to discuss what we learned from this massive undertaking and what we as a scientific community can recommend to help address the problem," says Dibb.

The work presented at the POLARCAT meeting will benefit the eight-country Arctic Council, which recently voted to jointly undertake efforts to reduce emissions of black carbon, ozone precursors, and methane in order to slow climate change and ice melt in the Arctic. The data will provide more robust results for governments to use in the development of mitigation efforts with the highest likelihood of benefiting Arctic climate.

"Accelerated warming is unraveling the ecosystems of the Arctic region," says Brooks Yeager, executive vice president of Clean Air-Cool Planet. "Pollutants carried into the region help drive this unprecedented warming and melting, which makes this new science so very valuable, pinpointing as it does the sources and the solutions."


'/>"/>

Contact: David Sims
david.sims@unh.edu
603-862-5369
University of New Hampshire
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mothers give interlopers offspring a head start in life
2. Protein analysis methods, viral vectors featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
3. Just in time for spring: Scientists find the cellular on and off switch for allergies and asthma
4. Springer launches StemCellGateway.net
5. Springer launches SpringerExemplar.com
6. Springer and Japanese Society of Biorheology to work together
7. Marine scientists warn of potential for spring, summer red tide outbreak in Gulf of Maine
8. Springer editor receives Butler Award
9. Springer partners with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
10. Spring fishing season arrives... and with it, amphibian diseases
11. Basic guides to PCR, labeling neurons featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/22/2017)... -- With the biometrics market to exceed $10 ... that innovative and agile startups must incorporate into ... changing competitive landscape: multifactor authentication (MFA), point-of-sale (PoS), ... "Companies can no longer afford to cut corners ... Pavlakis , Industry Analyst at ABI Research. "Pairing ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Feb. 16, 2017  Genos, a community for ... it has received Laboratory Accreditation from the College ... presented to laboratories that meet stringent requirements around ... rigorous processes. "Genos is committed to ... practices. We,re honored to be receiving CAP accreditation," ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... WASHINGTON , Feb. 13, 2017 Former ... U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Janice Kephart of ... regarding President Donald Trump,s "Executive Order: Protecting ... States" (Jan. 27, 2017):  "As President Trump,s ... 9th Circuit has now essentially banned the travel ban, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017 The ... states a research report by Transparency Market Research (TMR). ... Amgen Inc., and AbbVie Inc., accounted for a share ... prominent players in this market are focusing aggressively on ... portfolio, which is likely to lead to market consolidation ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Premier executive recruitment firm, Slone Partners, is ... by Hunt Scanlon Media. , Hunt Scanlon Media is one of the ... global news source in the human capital sector. , “It is a great honor ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... March 21, 2017 , ... ... Medical Officer Summit (CMO Summit) to be held on May 10-11, 2017, at ... event in the country specifically for Chief Medical Officer peer-to-peer learning, benchmarking and support. ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... and PETACH TIKVAH, Israel , ... BCLI), a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies ... , Chief Executive Officer, will provide an update on ... 2 nd Annual Neuroscience Biopartnering and Investment Forum, ... New York Academy of Sciences. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: