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Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change
  • clouds and Earth's energy albedo

    Considering the Cloud Angles

    Researchers from PNNL and collaborators found that the viewing angle is important when considering why satellite and ground-based cloud measurements sometimes disagree on cloud measurements. Where the two sets of measurements diverge is droplet effective radius, a measurement that provides important insight into how well a cloud reflects the sun's energy.

  • Sierra Nevada Snowpack in California

    Plentiful Pollution Particles Help More Snow Fall

    PNNL researchers and collaborators found that mountainous, mixed water-ice clouds have a dual response when injected with numerous tiny pollution particles. Pollution particles flowing near California's Sierra Nevada Mountains ripen conditions that form droplets and ice particles. Initially, mountain-side precipitation decreases. But when the particles reach a certain amount, snowfall dramatically increases over the mountain.

  • the carbon and nitrogen cycle interact with dynamic vegetation

    Keeping Tabs: Forests on the Move

    To understand the forests' role in both giving off and capturing carbon dioxide, researchers led by PNNL incorporated into an Earth system model the complex role of the ecosystem in amping or damping the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It involves a process called dynamic vegetation—where plants can shift their habitats in response to environmental changes such as a hotter climate or limited nutrients.

  • Mexico City brown carbon

    Light Absorbing Particles Unmasked

    A research team led by PNNL studied chemical reactions between human-caused pollution and other atmospheric particles under different environmental conditions to understand the light-absorbing properties of brown carbon, sometimes described as haze. The results suggest that brown carbon formed from common, human-caused pollution could have a significant impact on the energy balance of the Earth. Further, their work indicates the need to revisit how brown carbon is represented in climate models.

  • Dr. Koichi Sakaguchi

    Koichi Sakaguchi Receives AAS Editor's Award

    Koichi Sakaguchi, postdoctoral fellow in atmospheric science at PNNL, was among 10 reviewers to receive a 2017 Advances in Atmospheric Sciences (AAS) Editor's Award. Sakaguchi received the award for consistently thoughtful and constructive comments that contributed to the overall quality of the submitted manuscripts.

How do human activities and natural systems interact to affect the Earth's climate? Ultimately, that is the question challenging scientists in PNNL’s Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change Division.

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