More than 60 scientists from a dozen institutions have converged on the Sacramento Valley this June to study how tiny particles, called aerosols, affect the climate. Atmospheric System Research (ASR) scientists, led by Rahul Zaveri from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, are coordinating the monthlong study, including air and ground operations at three sites in the Central Valley. Funded by the ARM Climate Research Facility, the Carbonaceous Aerosols and Radiative Effects Study (CARES) is conducting regular flights through and around the Sacramento plume using the Gulfstream (G-1) research aircraft coordinated by the ARM Aerial Facility. Weather balloons outfitted with instruments will be launched in conjunction with research flights.
Scientists are looking at aerosols that have a bit of black carbon and organic chemicals in them. These can come from vehicle exhaust, fires, and even plants; plants can give off carbon-containing compounds that find their way into aerosols. Data collected from this study will lead to a better understanding of the effects of urban and natural atmospheric particles on climate, and improve atmospheric models that are used to simulate the impact of aerosols on climate change.
This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, through the Biological and Environmental Research program as part of the Atmospheric System Research program.