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Study in Science cites impact of anthropogenic nitrogen on ocean biology, atmospheric CO2
Date:5/19/2008

VIRGINIA KEY, Fla. Since the 1980s Dr. Joseph M. Prospero, professor of Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of Miamis Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, has pioneered studies in the worldwide measurement of aerosols, fine particles suspended in the atmosphere and carried by winds. His teams work focuses on the aerosol chemistry of the marine atmosphere. They are particularly interested in the long-range transport of pollutants from the continents to the oceans and their impact on climate and on biogeochemical processes in ocean waters.

Starting in 1980 Prospero established a network of island stations in the North and South Pacific Oceans. These stations made continuous measurements of the concentration of major aerosol species that play a role in climate: mineral dust, nitrate, sulfate, and sea salt. The network was eventually extended to the Indian Ocean and Antarctica. Throughout the 80s and into the late 90s the UM team maintained a total of 30 stations in constant operation in all ocean regions. The data obtained are unique and they have played a critical role in the development and testing of the global chemical transport models used in the recent climate assessment carried out by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Prosperos data plays a central role in a paper that appears in the May 16 issue of Science, Impacts of Atmospheric Anthropogenic Nitrogen on the Open Ocean. Spearheaded by Dr. Robert Duce from Texas A&M, the study highlights the importance of the Earths nitrogen cycle, and its vital link to the global carbon cycle, especially the atmospheric concentration of CO2, the greenhouse gas responsible for most of the global warming effects observed during the past century.

Scientists have long known that biological processes in the ocean play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Algae and other forms of marine life take up CO2 and nutrients from ocean surface waters an
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Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert

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