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Research Accomplishments

2011

  • Tiny Particles, Big Impact
    June 2011: Atmospheric aerosols may be small, ranging in size from a few nanometers to a few microns, but they have a big impact on climate. At the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, capabilities developed through the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program are delivering new insights into the formation, aging and transport of aerosol particles, whether they are created by nature or human activity. » More
  • The AMT: A Shared Approach for Climate Insight
    May 2011: To systematically and objectively evaluate aerosol research data, scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a new modeling tool, the Aerosol Modeling Testbed (AMT). Presented in the March 2011 edition of the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, AMT is offered at no charge to the research community. The tool is designed to improve our fundamental understanding of aerosols and their impact on climate change. » More

2010

  • Jiwen Fan helps Demystify Pollution's Impact on Storm Clouds
    January 2010: A team of atmospheric scientists led by Dr. Jiwen Fan of the PNNL recently figured out why seemingly conflicting data showed pollution makes storms stronger in some cases and weaker in other cases. The team designed computer simulations to tease out how aerosols from pollution affect storm development and realized the confusion wasn't with pollution at all. Fan presented their findings in December at the 2009 American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. » More
  • Forging Cloud Anvils
    December 2010: Tiny particles of pollutants in the lower atmosphere have a striking effect on cloud anvils, which are created by thunderstorms. A team of atmospheric scientists at PNNL conducted simulations of these storm clouds under two contrasting atmospheric conditions: humid and clean, and dry and polluted. They found that increasing the concentrations of those tiny particles increases anvil cloud size and lifetime in both cases. » More

2009

  • PNNL Testbed Gives Science Community a Better Tool for Climate Modeling
    November 2009: A national research team led by scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has created an Aerosol Modeling Testbed&mdahs;a framework where the worldwide science community can test, evaluate, and compare new treatments for aerosol processes in models. This is the first testbed of its kind designed to quantify the performance of aerosol process modules over spatial scales consistent with measurements collected during field campaigns. » More
  • Oh, the Secrets Ice Crystals Will Tell!
    December 2009: The SPARTICUS, or Small Particles in Cirrus, campaign will weave together data from an instrumented airplane and ground-based instruments to gather the most comprehensive set of ice crystal measurements yet. Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are part of the team that will define the scientific mission and they are leading the project's daily operations. » More
  • Lead in Clouds: A Bad News/Good News Scenario
    May 2009: An international research team led by PNNL has shown for the first time that lead from human activities is changing the properties of clouds and, therefore, the way the sun's energy affects the atmosphere. Published in Nature Geoscience. » More
  • Thawing the Mystery of Extra Ice Crystals
    June 2009: Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have presented two processes, or explanations, for how extra ice crystals form in mixed-phase clouds—clouds containing both water and ice—which are prevalent throughout the Arctic. Now, the scientific community has a more accurate understanding of how Arctic clouds affect climate change. » More

2008

  • Seeking and Destroying Algorithm Errors
    November 2008: Drs. Richard Easter and Mikhail Ovtchinnikov found and corrected previously unrecognized errors of up to 30% in advection algorithms, enabling detailed cloud-model simulations that are much more accurate. » More

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