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Focus Areas

The Aerosol Climate Initiative is addressing critical challenges in Aerosol Climate science by conducting research projects in three key scientific focus areas.

#1 - Aerosol Formation, Aging, and Transport
Atmospheric aerosols play an important role in global climate change and are recognized as a significant factor that alters the planet's energy balance. In order to better evaluate the role of aerosols in the climate system, PNNL is focusing on the molecular mechanisms involved in various stages of the aerosol life cycle, including formation, growth, and aging, as well as the mechanisms involved in the movement of aerosols within the atmosphere. Projects in this area will broaden our ability to predict aerosol properties in time and space and to incorporate these properties into a coupled climate modeling framework. More Information . . .

#2 - Aerosol Indirect Effects
Aerosols affect the climate in multiple ways, and are one of the greatest sources of uncertainty in climate modeling and prediction. Small aerosol particles affect the natural energy balance of the Earth directly, by reflecting, and in some cases absorbing, solar radiation, and indirectly, by influencing the reflective and absorbing properties of clouds. Aerosol particles can also affect atmospheric chemistry by providing sites on which chemical reactions can take place. PNNL is broadening and sharpening our understanding of aerosol indirect effects by investigating how aerosol number and properties influence cloud properties in aggregate and how clouds process and remove aerosols. PNNL will synthesize these effects into computational modules that can be applied to regional or global climate models. More Information . . .

#3 - Measurements and Instrumentation
There is an increasing need for development of new instrumentation and new measurement techniques to quantify the role of atmospheric aerosols in climate change. PNNL currently has a broad range of available instrumentation, and is assessing our equipment in light of emerging needs. PNNL is formulating a strategy for measurement needs and instrumentation that will provide us with the best blend of tools for aerosol research. We are focused on the development of both ground-based and in situ instrument suites to maintain a world class capacity for aerosol research both in the laboratory and in the field. More Information...

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