BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Two-Column Aerosol Project: Impact of Elevated Particle Layers on Particle Optical Depth
Published: January 08, 2016
Posted: April 27, 2016

Scientists gain insights into aerosol properties near the North American coast.

The Science  
Key knowledge gaps persist in the scientific understanding of how aerosol particles and clouds evolve and affect climate. A recent study near Cape Cod highlighted the impact of airborne aerosol layers on the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface.

The Impact
Data collected during the Two-Column Aerosol Project (TCAP) better represent the importance of accounting for mixtures of different compounds in atmospheric particles and how these mixtures affect aerosol particle optical properties over a deep layer of the atmosphere where human-caused effects are expected to be the largest, as well as in a geographic area where model uncertainties are a significant concern.

Summary
TCAP was designed to provide a detailed set of observations to tackle an area of unknowns about aerosol particle optical properties in an area where human-caused effects are present. A team of researchers led by Department of Energy (DOE) scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) organized a year-long deployment of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Mobile Facility to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for the 12-month duration of the TCAP project. The surface measurements were augmented by two separate one-month long deployments of the ARM Aerial Facility (AAF), one in the summer and one in winter. Few datasets currently combine the range of detailed measurements like those made during TCAP over a range of seasons; in particular, measurements to examine the chemical composition of aerosol particles, their optical properties, and their ability to act as seeds for cloud drops. Using the AFF data, the team found that elevated layers of aerosols occurred on four of six cloud-free days sampled during the summer deployment period. These layers, with increased amounts of biomass burning material and nitrate compared to aerosol at other altitudes, have a large impact on the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface. This TCAP data will be used to better constrain regional and global models.

Contacts (BER PM)
Ashley Williamson, SC-23.1, ashley.williamson@science.doe.gov, 301-903-3120; Shaima Nasiri, SC-23.1, shaima.nasiri@science.doe.gov, 301-903-0207; Sally McFarlane, SC-23.1, sally.mcfarlane@science.doe.gov, 301-903-0943; and Rick Petty, SC-23.1, rick.petty@science.doe.gov, 301-903-5548.

(PI Contact)
Larry Berg
PNNL
Larry.Berg@pnnl.gov, 509-375-3916

Funding
This research was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration’s GOES-R Cal/Val Activities within the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; DOE Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environnmental Research, ARM and Atmospheric System Research programs (DE-SC0006080). PNNL is operated by DOE by the Battelle Memorial Institute under contract DE-A06-76RLO 1830.

Publication
Berg, L. K., J. D. Fast, J. C. Barnard, S. P. Burton, B. Cairns, D. Chand, J. Comstock, S. Dunagan, R. Ferrare, C. Flynn, J. Hair, C. Hostetler, J. Hubbe, A. Jefferson, R. Johnson, E. Kassianov, C. Kluzek, P. Kollias, K. Lamer, K. Lantz, F. Mei, M. Miller, J. Michalsky, I. Ortega, M. Pekour, R. Rogers, P. Russell, J. Redemann, A. Sedlacek, M. Segal-Rosenheimer, B. Schmid, J. Shilling, Y. Shinokuza, S. Springston, J. Tomlinson, M. Tyrell, J. Wilson, R. Volkamer, A. Zelenyuk, and C. Berkowitz. 2016. “The Two-Column Aerosol Project: Phase I Overview and Impact of Elevated Aerosol Layers on Aerosol Optical Depth,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 121(1), 336–61. DOI: 10.1002/2015JD023848. (Reference link)

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Atmospheric System Research
  • Facility: DOE ARM User Facility

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Mar 23, 2021
Molecular Connections from Plants to Fungi to Ants
Lipids transfer energy and serve as an inter-kingdom communication tool in leaf-cutter ants&rsqu [more...]

Mar 19, 2021
Microbes Use Ancient Metabolism to Cycle Phosphorus
Microbial cycling of phosphorus through reduction-oxidation reactions is older and more widespre [more...]

Feb 22, 2021
Warming Soil Means Stronger Microbe Networks
Soil warming leads to more complex, larger, and more connected networks of microbes in those soi [more...]

Jan 27, 2021
Labeling the Thale Cress Metabolites
New data pipeline identifies metabolites following heavy isotope labeling.

Analysis [more...]

Aug 31, 2020
Novel Bacterial Clade Reveals Origin of Form I Rubisco
Objectives

  • All plant biomass is sourced from the carbon-fixing enzyme Rub [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)