Aircraft contrails found to cause significant climate warming

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 5:47 PM GMT on April 11, 2011

Share this Blog
3
+

It's been widely known that aircraft contribute significantly to global warming, thanks to their emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. Aircraft currently account for about 3% of the global human-emitted CO2. But a major new study published this April in Nature found that at any particular moment, the clouds aircraft leave in the sky--contrails--have a warming effect on the climate that is greater than all the CO2 emitted by aircraft since the dawn of aviation 100 years ago. Aircraft condensation trails (contrails) form when hot, moist air coming out of aircraft engines condenses, creating thin line-shaped clouds of ice crystals. Contrails typically last less than five hours, but can exist for up to seventeen hours. These contrails can then gradually spread out and become long-lived high cirrus clouds. These clouds cool the climate by reflecting incoming sunlight back into space. However, contrail clouds also trap heat energy (long-wave infrared radiation emitted by the Earth's surface) that would otherwise escape to space, and the net impact of contrails is to warm the climate. The new study in Nature used a global climate model to determine that these so-called spreading contrails cause nine times more climate warming than the original line-shaped contrails.


Figure 1. Aircraft contrails over the UK in March 2009 (left image) drifted south and spread out into contrail cirrus clouds (right image) several hours later. Images taken from the 2009 paper, "A case study of the radiative forcing of persistent contrails evolving into contrail-induced cirrus", JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 114, D24201, 17 PP., 2009 doi:10.1029/2009JD012650.

The accompanying news article in Nature notes that the results of the new study imply that changes in aircraft flight paths and engine design could significantly lower their impact on climate warming by reducing the amount of contrails and cirrus clouds produced. For example, new aircraft engine designs that emit less water vapor would create fewer contrails. This could be accomplished by having a cooling unit that condenses out water vapor in the exhaust before it is emitted into the atmosphere. The condensed water could be vented in the form of large ice crystals or droplets that would fall quickly through the atmosphere.

Jeff Masters (Ricky Rood will be back once the annual end-of-school-year crunch is past.)

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 94 - 44

Page: 1 | 2Blog Index

94. MaryMeteorologist
1:59 AM GMT on May 04, 2011
Sorry, but trying to link the recent tornadoes to global warming is simply wild speculation not supported by any reasonable current science.

While AGW is likely to increase vertical temp gradients, it is likely to decrease latitudinal gradients in the mid latitudes. The affect on tornadoes? Unknown and likely small.

I've yet to see a single legitimate paper supporting the concept of "bigger stronger storms" that uses a comprehensive global dataset.

I've seen some papers on this, but all either use an area or time scale too small or have obvious flaws in methodology.

Clearly, we are altering our planet and climatological changes will come from that but lets be careful of our assumptions.
Member Since: September 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
87. cyclonebuster
11:58 AM GMT on April 18, 2011
Quoting martinitony:
Cyclone, what are you trying to tell us, that tornadoes in April are somehow related to global warming?


I am telling you that the potential for tornadoes and severe weather increases as SSTs in the GOM and Atlantic rise.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
86. HaloReachFan
12:03 AM GMT on April 18, 2011
Quoting martinitony:
Cyclone, what are you trying to tell us, that tornadoes in April are somehow related to global warming?


I'll answer that for him.

YUP.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
85. martinitony
10:18 PM GMT on April 17, 2011
Cyclone, what are you trying to tell us, that tornadoes in April are somehow related to global warming?
Member Since: July 29, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 970
84. HaloReachFan
8:50 PM GMT on April 17, 2011
Oh wow.

Masters posted this not Ricky.
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
83. cyclonebuster
7:41 PM GMT on April 17, 2011
Computer modeling of Gulfstream Kinetic Energy will verify that up to 50% of the tornado deadly outbreak could have been prevented due to the cooler SSTs they could have created in the GOM which will cool the warm air that heads into these monster storms from the GOM making them so numerous and violent. Ya'll with me yet?

At Least 43 Killed After Deadly Storms Ravage Southern U.S., North Carolina

A devastating storm that spawned tornadoes, flash floods and hail as big as softballs has claimed at least 43 lives across the U.S. while roaring through the South and gaining steam in North Carolina and Virginia.

Emergency crews searched for victims in hard-hit swaths of North Carolina, where 62 tornadoes were reported from the worst spring storm in two decades to hit the state. Eleven people were confirmed dead in Bertie County, county manager Zee Lamb said.

22 people have been reported killed in North Carolina alone, Fox News confirmed Sunday.

Authorities said at least three more people are dead in neighboring Virginia during the storm's passage Saturday before the sprawling, potent storm bands moved eastward over the Atlantic.

In the capital city of Raleigh, three family members died in a mobile home park, said Wake County spokeswoman Sarah Willamson-Baker. At that trailer park, residents lined up outside Sunday and asked police guarding the area when they might get back in.

April 16: Emergency personnel confer in front of Lowes Home Improvement after it was hit by a tornado in Sanford, N.C. Homes and businesses were badly damaged Saturday by a severe storm system that whipped across North Carolina, bringing flash floods, hail and reports of tornadoes from the western hills to the streets of Raleigh. In the Lee County town of Sanford, a Lowe's store was smashed by the storm. (AP)

April 16: Emergency personnel confer in front of Lowes Home Improvement after it was hit by a tornado in Sanford, N.C. Homes and businesses were badly damaged Saturday by a severe storm system that whipped across North Carolina, bringing flash floods, hail and reports of tornadoes from the western hills to the streets of Raleigh. In the Lee County town of Sanford, a Lowe's store was smashed by the storm. (AP)

April 16: Emergency personnel enters Lowes Home Improvement after it was hit by a tornado in Sanford, N.C.

April 16: Emergency personnel enters Lowes Home Improvement after it was hit by a tornado in Sanford, N.C.

The storm claimed its first lives Thursday night in Oklahoma, then roared through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Authorities have said seven died in Arkansas; seven in Alabama; two in Oklahoma; and one in Mississippi. At least five died in Virginia.

In North Carolina, Gov. Beverly Perdue declared a state of emergency after reporting fatalities in at least four counties. But she declined to immediately confirm an exact number of deaths. She said the 62 tornadoes reported were the most since March 1984, when a storm system spawned 22 twisters in the Carolinas that killed 57 people -- 42 in North Carolina -- and injured hundreds.

Daybreak brought news of a horrific death toll in Bertie County, about 130 miles (210 kilometers) east of Raleigh. The tornado moved through about 7 p.m. Saturday, sweeping homes from their foundations, demolishing others, and flipping cars on tiny rural roads between Askewville and Colerian, Lamb said. At least three of those who died were from the same family, he said.

One of the volunteers who scoured the rubble was an Iraq war veteran who told Lamb he was stunned by what he saw.

"He did two tours of duty in Iraq and the scene was worse than he ever saw in Iraq -- that's pretty devastating," Lamb said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody in North Carolina who has been through this horrible day," Perdue said.

Search and rescue teams operated through the night, Perdue said, with damage assessments starting in earnest Sunday after daylight.

"There's a lot of work that needs to be done in these areas that are most heavily impacted," said Doug Hoell, the state's director of emergency management. "There's a lot of debris out there that's got to be cleaned up."

In Virginia, disaster officials said one apparent tornado ripped more than 12 miles long through Gloucester County, uprooting trees and pounding homes to rubble while claiming three lives. Another person was confirmed dead and another remained missing early Sunday after flash flooding elsewhere in Virginia.

Scenes of destruction across the South looked eerily similar in many areas.

In North Carolina, rooftops were ripped off stores, trees were plucked from the ground and scores of homes were damaged, Hoell said.

At one point more than 250,000 people went without power in North Carolina before emergency utility crews began repairing downed lines. But scattered outages were expected to linger at least until Monday before power was fully restored..

Among areas hit by power outages was Raleigh, a bustling city of more than 400,000 people where some of the bigger downtown thoroughfares were blocked by fallen trees early Sunday.

The storm sweeping into North Carolina moved from the state's western mountain reaches to the coast on Saturday amid utter devastation in some places.

Police and rescue crews began conducting house-to-house searches later Saturday at a mobile home park in north Raleigh, where the storm snapped some trees in half, ripped others out of the ground and tossed some trailers from one side of a street to the other.

In Sanford, about 40 miles southwest of Raleigh, a busy shopping district was pummeled by the storms, with some businesses losing rooftops in what observers described as a ferocious tornado.

The Lowe's Home Improvement Center in Sanford looked flattened, with jagged beams and wobbly siding sticking up from the pancaked entrance. Cars in the parking lot were flipped by the winds.

"It's very, very bad here," said Monica Elliott, who works at the nearby Brick City Grill. "We saw a tornado that just rode up over the restaurant."

Remarkably, no one was seriously injured at the Lowe's, thanks to a quick-thinking manager who herded more than 100 people into a back area with no windows to shatter.

"It was really just a bad scene," said Jeff Blocker, Lowe's regional vice president for eastern North Carolina. "You're just amazed that no one was injured."

Cindy Hall, a Red Cross volunteer and outreach minister at First Baptist Church in Sanford, said dozens of homes in the area were damaged.

"It wiped out our St. Andrews neighborhood, which includes about 30 homes," she said.

To the west, hikers stranded by flash floods had to be rescued.

In Virginia, Department of Emergency Management spokesman Bob Spieldenner, said an apparent tornado ploughed through communities of Gloucester County, destroying or damaging homes, uprooting trees in a quiet farming and fishing region along the Chesapeake Bay.

"I know it was a pretty long path," he said of the reported tornado. "They estimated it was 12 to 14 miles" based on 911 emergency calls.

Authorities said at least three deaths had been confirmed in Gloucester County and at least 60 were injured, most with minor injuries. Spieldenner said one person was killed when a vehicle ran into flash flooding near Waynesboro and another person was missing and a third rescued.

He reported homes and mobile homes damaged and destroyed in a series of other Virginia counties and flash flooding west of Charlottesville that prompted water rescues -- including four people rescued unhurt from a car that had plunged into deep water flowing over a street.












Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
82. cyclonebuster
7:32 PM GMT on April 17, 2011
Gulfstream Kinetic Energy prevents this cancer causing practice due to greed!


Democrat Report: Hazardous Chemicals Injected Into Wells by Oil Companies

WASHINGTON — Millions of gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals and known carcinogens were injected into wells by leading oil and gas service companies from 2005-2009, a report by three House Democrats said Saturday.

The report said 29 of the chemicals injected were known-or-suspected human carcinogens. They either were regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act as risks to human health or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Methanol was the most widely used chemical. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The report was issued by Reps. Henry Waxman of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado.

The chemicals are injected during hydraulic fracturing, a process used in combination with horizontal drilling to allow access to natural gas reserves previously considered uneconomical.

The growing use of hydraulic fracturing has allowed natural gas production in the United States to reach levels not achieved since the early 1970s.

However, the process requires large quantities of water and fluids, injected underground at high volumes and pressure. The composition of these fluids ranges from a simple mixture of water and sand to more complex mixtures with chemical additives.

The report said that from 2005-2009, the following states had at least 100,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids containing a carcinogen: Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana and Utah.

States with 100,000 gallons or more of fluids containing a regulated chemical under the Safe Drinking Water Act were: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Mississippi and North Dakota.

The report said many chemical components were listed as "proprietary" or "trade secret."

"Hydraulic fracturing has opened access to vast domestic reserves of natural gas that could provide an important stepping stone to a clean energy future," the report said.

"Yet, questions about the safety of hydraulic fracturing persist, which are compounded by the secrecy surrounding the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids. This analysis is the most comprehensive national assessment to date of the types and volumes of chemical used in the hydraulic fracturing process."

The investigation of chemicals used in fracturing was started in the last Congress by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which then was controlled by Democrats. The committee asked the 14 leading oil and gas service companies to disclose the types and volumes of the hydraulic fracturing products they used between 2005 and 2009 and the chemical contents of those products.

Link


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
81. cyclonebuster
7:12 PM GMT on April 17, 2011
Quoting rod2635:


Rather refreshing to see at least one comment relating to the initial blog subject matter. If the Nature article is on target, we have a man made warming contributor of principal significance that could be remedied at affordable cost. The second benefit of the article is to demonstrate that warming may the outgrowth of multiple man made interactive forces affecting ultimate temperature equilibrium, not just one, ie CO2. Let's spend the time to understand them all before we focus all our resources on just one.


Correct even though it is just 3% of the problem right now it still has a negative impact on our climate warming problem which we create.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
79. rod2635
1:25 PM GMT on April 17, 2011
Quoting Skyepony:
Thanks for the contrail blog. Many days the weather here is ruled by the contrail clouds. Alot of people don't notice them or refuse to discuss any possible impact.


Rather refreshing to see at least one comment relating to the initial blog subject matter. If the Nature article is on target, we have a man made warming contributor of principal significance that could be remedied at affordable cost. The second benefit of the article is to demonstrate that warming may the outgrowth of multiple man made interactive forces affecting ultimate temperature equilibrium, not just one, ie CO2. Let's spend the time to understand them all before we focus all our resources on just one.
Member Since: January 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 259
78. Patrap
3:34 AM GMT on April 17, 2011

While the pilot stays on course, the SEO monitors science instruments and communicates to the scientist the real-time weather picture, which may require an altered course.

Mission Into Ice Clouds: Q&A with MACPEX Pilot Bill Rieke


The Mid-latitude Airborne Cirrus Properties Experiment (MACPEX) is a NASA field campaign that is investigating cirrus cloud properties and the processes that affect their impact on solar radiation. The campaign uses NASA's WB-57 research aircraft based at Ellington, Texas, to conduct science flights over Oklahoma, the southeastern United States and the Gulf of Mexico this month.

Research pilot William Rieke from NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, has flown more than 3,500 hours in numerous aircraft, including the F/A 18 Hornet strike fighter when he was in the United States Navy. Since then, Rieke has been a flight engineer on Boeing 727's and 737-200's for a major airline. As a pilot for NASA since 2004, he has flown the NorthropT-38N Talon jet, the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, which NASA uses to transport Space Shuttle orbiters, and the WB-57.

There are numerous high altitude aircraft, so why was the NASA WB-57 selected for this mission? Is there any advantage to a two-seater aircraft for missions? Does a project scientist sit in the other seat, and what kinds of instruction do you receive while in flight?

William Rieke: The WB-57 aircraft is a very good high-altitude platform that can take more than 6,000 lbs. of experiments very high into the atmosphere . There are two aircrew in the WB-57, a pilot and a Sensor Equipment Operator (SEO). The SEO is usually very busy taking care of the science instruments and communicating to scientists on the ground the status of our flight. Both the pilot and SEO have a preflight brief with the scientists who decide where the aircraft needs to be positioned to collect the desired atmospheric data. In flight, the WB-57 has the capability to communicate via radio or satellite phone to the mission scientist on the ground to communicate the real-time weather picture. With their input, the aircrew then plans an appropriate course.

Have you flown similar airborne missions?

WR: The WB-57 program has completed many similar missions to MACPEX. I have flown several campaigns to Costa Rica, Hawaii and England, to name a few.

What is your biggest concern when flying these missions?

Anywhere we go, NASA ensures the safety of the people first. They are the most treasured assets NASA has. The mission managers ensure that the airfield has the proper equipment available to take care of the WB-57, or we bring it ourselves. While flying, my concern is to keep the aircraft within the requested boundaries. Sometimes they can be very restrictive which makes it difficult to maneuver to collect data.

What’s it like to fly the WB-57 through ice clouds? Are ice clouds dense? If you’re flying through clouds, isn’t your visibility distorted? Can you hear the ice crystals hit the plane? Are the ice crystals microscopic or big, like hailstones? How fast are you flying? Does the density or visibility of the clouds slow down your flights?

WR: Flying through clouds is similar to driving through fog in a car – you just can’t see as well! Aircraft have confidently been flying through clouds ever since we learned to trust our instruments. When the pilot cannot see the horizon, they need to rely on accurate instrumentation to get the aircraft through it. At high altitudes, ice crystals can sometimes be very apparent. The ice crystals that I have flown through have a shimmery look to them as the sun is reflected off each tiny particle when it zips by the aircraft. However, the crystals are very small and therefore, not a danger to the aircraft.

While flying through ice clouds, what precautions will be taken to prevent ice on the wings?

WR: It all starts at the preflight planning brief. The aircrew discusses the flight profile with the scientists. Weather forecasts are investigated for potentially hazardous conditions., This is a combined effort of the aircrew and MACPEX scientists. If icing is encountered while airborne, the WB-57 has engine anti-ice capability. However, there is no anti-ice or de-ice capability for the wings. When ice forms on the wings in flight, aircrew has been trained to rapidly exit the icing conditions by climbing or descending several thousand feet. Normally, this will clear the icing conditions.

Is the cockpit cold? What are you wearing to prevent frostbite?

WR: The aircraft is kept warm by using heated air from the two engines on the WB57. It is adjustable to each pilots comfort level. Additionally, when we fly at higher altitudes, aircrew wear special high altitude suits that protect us from the reduced pressure and have the added benefit of keeping us warm.

How high will you fly, and for what purpose?

WR: We will fly as high as the mission scientist would like us to fly based on their specific objectives.

What type of instruments will be on-board? Will they require special maneuvers, and how long will you stay in the air ?

WR: There are 24 instruments on board that collect various atmospheric data. There are no special maneuvers required. The scientist requires that the aircraft be in clouds the majority of the time to collect the most data.

Contrails are visible trails of condensed water vapor made by the exhaust of aircraft engines. If the air is cold enough, this trail will comprise tiny ice crystals. Is there any concern that your jet exhaust (contrails) will affect your data collection?

WR: Actually, the scientist would like us to fly through our own contrail, or other aircraft contrails, to analyze the particulates left behind by aircraft. So, it will not compromise the data but rather help us better understand how we are impacting the environment.


Ruth Dasso Marlaire
Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125715
77. HaloReachFan
3:29 AM GMT on April 17, 2011
Against this backdrop, Gore said it’s vital to continue pushing for policies that would put a monetary cost on industrial emissions. “Putting a price on carbon” is the goal of cap-and-trade plans and other proposals to ensure emissions cuts, but such measures face gigantic hurdles in the current Congress.


And this is who y'all look up to.

Hilarious!!

Who is going to get this money for the price on Carbon Mrs. Gore?

You,

The government?

Seems kinda sketchy to me
Member Since: September 15, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 563
73. cyclonebuster
2:47 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting InconceivableF6:

I wouldn't go that far. But his argument that ice is getting thicker and snow is becoming more commonplace only shows some impulsiveness and/or misconception of regions relative to the entire globe itself. While the warming has appears to have slowed somewhat, it is clear his boat has sunk.

McBill's graph is actually a pretty good representation, but also prone to a time constraint in relation to the period that the Industrial Revolution began. That graph, of course, would not slope that way the entire duration.


Martinitonys boat has sunk because it too is skewed!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
72. cyclonebuster
2:40 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting MichaelSTL:


Don't forget the Pacific:







Correct I forgot!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
71. Patrap
1:49 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 415 Comments: 125715
68. cyclonebuster
1:26 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting McBill:

You've got the attention span of a gnat, Mr. Martini. And a strange concept of "sideways" to boot.






Martini.You live here?


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
66. cyclonebuster
1:20 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
East Atlantic too!


Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
65. cyclonebuster
1:18 AM GMT on April 15, 2011

Here too.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
64. cyclonebuster
1:10 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Ouch. Already warm enough for a hurricane to form.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
63. cyclonebuster
12:45 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Gulfstream Kinetic Energy prevents this! Ya'll with me yet?


Polluted Air Leads to Disease by Promoting Widespread Inflammation

ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2011) — Chronic inhalation of polluted air appears to activate a protein that triggers the release of white blood cells, setting off events that lead to widespread inflammation, according to new research in an animal model.This finding narrows the gap in researchers' understanding of how prolonged exposure to pollution can increase the risk for cardiovascular problems and other diseases.

The research group, led by Ohio State University scientists, has described studies in mice suggesting that chronic exposure to very fine particulate matter triggers events that allow white blood cells to escape from bone marrow and work their way into the bloodstream. Their presence in and around blood vessels alters the integrity of vessel walls and they also collect in fat tissue, where they release chemicals that cause inflammation.

The cellular activity resembles an immune response that has spiraled out of control. A normal immune response to a pathogen or other foreign body requires some inflammation, but when inflammation is excessive and has no protective or healing role, the condition can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, as well as other disorders.

Though many questions about the beginning of this process remain unanswered, the scientists predict that the damage may originate in fluid that lines the lung. Tiny molecules in this fluid change structure after being exposed to polluted air, and that change appears to set off this cascade of damaging white blood cell behavior by activating a receptor called "toll-like receptor 4."

The job of toll-like receptor 4, or TLR4, is to recognize specific characteristics of pathogens and then send out signals to activate other players in the immune system. Mice that lack this molecule don't produce as much inflammation after exposure to pollution as do normal mice, suggesting that TLR4 has a prominent role in the body's response to chronic exposure to particulate matter.

"Our main hypothesis is that particulate matter stimulates inflammation in the lung, and products of that inflammation spill over into the body's circulation, traveling to fat tissue to promote inflammation and causing vascular dysfunction," said Sanjay Rajagopalan, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State and senior author of the study. "We haven't identified the entire mechanism, but we have evidence now that activation of TLR4 influences this response."

The research is published in a recent issue of the journal Circulation Research.

Many of these researchers already have documented the link between chronic exposure to polluted air and high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. They now aim to pinpoint how and where the earliest damage occurs.

For this study, the scientists exposed different groups of mice to either filtered air or air containing between eight and 10 times more fine particulates than the ambient air in an urban environment -- an average of approximately 111 micrograms per cubic meter. The mice were exposed for six hours per day for five days per week for at least 20 weeks.

The polluted air contained fine particulates that are so tiny -- 2.5 micrometers or smaller in diameter, or about 1/30th of the average width of a human hair -- that they can reach deep areas of the lungs and other organs in the body.

For most of the experiments, the effects of exposure to pollution were compared in normal mice and mice deficient in TLR4.

After exposure to polluted air, the normal mice showed higher levels of white blood cells known as inflammatory monocytes in their spleens and circulating in their bloodstream than did mice breathing filtered air. Deficiency of TLR4 diminished this effect in mice breathing dirty air. That suggested that if the receptor is not active, the monocytes will not be released.

Other findings implicated yet another potential compound involved in the damage. The increase in monocytes was accompanied by an increase in superoxides in the blood vessels. These compounds are designed to kill pathogens, but they are toxic if they have no bug to fight. They are produced by an enzyme called NADPH oxidase -- and NADPH oxidase is found inside monocytes.

In an experiment comparing normal mice and mice lacking a component of the NADPH oxidase enzyme, the mice without the enzyme produced fewer oxygen free radicals in response to polluted air than did normal mice.

"The free radicals can have a high impact on vascular function," explained Thomas Kampfrath, a postdoctoral researcher in Ohio State's Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute and first author of the study. Indeed, an examination of the aortas of these mice showed that vessels in animals exposed to polluted air exhibited exaggerated responsiveness to stressors -- a sign of incipient hypertension, or high blood pressure, Kampfrath said.

Yet another model of mice genetically altered so their monocytes express yellow fluorescent protein allowed the researchers to observe exactly where the monocytes traveled in segments of mouse muscles and fat tissue. In mice breathing polluted air, the monocytes began to stick to blood vessel walls and fat cells.

"This is a sign that the monocytes are responding to inflammatory stimuli -- which in our case is particulate matter -- and then in turn they can cause more inflammation because they release inflammatory factors," said Rajagopalan, who is also the associate director for vascular research at the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.

Those factors include what are called proinflammatory cytokines, including TNFa (tumor necrosis factor alpha), MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein) and IL-12 (interleukin-12). These are chemical messengers that cause inflammation, most often to fight infection or repair injury. When they circulate without an infection to fight, the body experiences excess inflammation.

Mice breathing polluted air showed higher levels of these cytokines in their blood than did mice breathing filtered air. And the mice deficient in the TLR4 receptor showed dramatically lower levels of the cytokines.

"Most of our experiments initially assessed global inflammation. The monocytes are virtually everywhere in the body," Rajagopalan said. "And then we asked the question, how does it happen, and where does it come from?"

Kampfrath in particular is focused on the lung's role in this process. Those same cytokines were also significantly elevated in the lungs of mice that had experienced prolonged exposure to polluted air, and the lack of TLR4 activation lowered this effect.

Protective fluid in the lung contains molecules called phospholipids, and this research showed that those molecules become oxidized -- meaning a chemical reaction changes their shape and function -- after they are exposed to polluted air. That much is determined.

And a series of experiments in different types of white blood cells demonstrated that when the cells are treated with oxidized phospholipids, they will release those proinflammatory cytokines. The lack of TLR4 in those cells diminishes these effects.

These experiments confirmed that these activities in the lung could trigger inflammation seen throughout the rest of the body in mice exposed to polluted air. The question that remains unanswered, however, is the process by which phospholipids become oxidized after chronic lung exposure to dirty air, Kampfrath said.

"After exposure, there is an increase in oxidized phospholipids in the lung fluid. We know it happens, but we don't know how," he said. "What we do know is that the increase in oxidized phospholipids in turn promotes inflammation."

In an editorial in the same issue of Circulation Research, Daniel Conklin of the University of Louisville wrote, "Is the mystery solved regarding the mechanism how inhaled [fine particulate matter] exposure stimulates vascular inflammation and injury? Well, probably not completely, but the present scenario laid out … connects findings from their study with many disparate human and animal epidemiological/exposure studies into a plausible story."

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and DFG (German Research Foundation).

Co-authors include Andrei Maiseyeu, Zhekang Ying, Zubair Shah, Jeffrey Deiuliis, Nisharahmed Kherada, Sampath Parthasarathy, Susan Moffatt-Bruce and Qinghua Sun of the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute; Xiaohua Xu of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences; and Kongara Reddy and Nitin Padture of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, all at Ohio State; Robert Brook of the University of Michigan; Lung Chi Chen of New York University; and Henning Morawietz of the University of Technology in Dresden, Germany.

Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
62. sirmaelstrom
12:36 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:


There you go again thinking in terms of AREA only and totally negating VOLUME. Hows that work for ya?



Except that you aren't actually showing any measurements of volume. I wonder when the Cryosat-2 data will be available.
Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 568
61. cyclonebuster
12:31 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting martinitony:


But Cyclone, the Arctic melting has sorta stalled out much as the Earth warming has. Not melting so much, going sideways, ice getting thicker, snow cover bigger, wider. It's not working for you Cyclone. Better find another argument.


There you go again thinking in terms of AREA only and totally negating VOLUME. Hows that work for ya?

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
59. martinitony
12:01 AM GMT on April 15, 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:


You need to look at it more often as that is where some of the heat is going to melt more ice. The Arctic is one of the best indicators of climate change if not the best indicator.


But Cyclone, the Arctic melting has sorta stalled out much as the Earth warming has. Not melting so much, going sideways, ice getting thicker, snow cover bigger, wider. It's not working for you Cyclone. Better find another argument.
Member Since: July 29, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 970
58. sirmaelstrom
11:50 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:


You need to look at it more often as that is where some of the heat is going to melt more ice. The Arctic is one of the best indicators of climate change if not the best indicator.


I don't really need to look at it; I have you to tell me every time it is low and Martinitony to tell me when it's not.

Anyway, I pay more attention to the annual minimum, as that's when the maximum insolation of the arctic occurs.

Added: Well, maybe I should correct that...The maximum insolation actually occurs earlier, but the amount of sunlight reflected from June-October will be lower due to lower albedo (due to less ice) at those times.

I suppose it is interesting to follow it at other times though, as it is another measure of heat contained within the climate system.

Further Additions: You know, technically I'm not even sure the above concerning insolation is actually correct. I think the lowest amount of arctic sunlight reflected will probably still be sometime around July. I guess the main reason I follow the annual minimum more closely is that it makes it easier to track long-term trends of the ice extent. LOL...I think I'll just stick with the last line I think.
Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 568
57. cyclonebuster
11:39 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Quoting sirmaelstrom:


Ahh...I see. Just ratting rattling your cage, Cyclonebuster. I have to admit though, I hadn't looked at arctic ice data in a while, but if someone would have asked me about it, I would probably have expected it not to be at thirty-year seasonal lows any more since I hadn't seen you (or MichaelSTL) post anything about it in a while. I'm sure that was the point that Martinitony was making.

Edited


You need to look at it more often as that is where some of the heat is going to melt more ice. The Arctic is one of the best indicators of climate change if not the best indicator.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
56. sirmaelstrom
11:24 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:


I know where his statement was headed.


Ahh...I see. Just ratting rattling your cage, Cyclonebuster. I have to admit though, I hadn't looked at arctic ice data in a while, but if someone would have asked me about it, I would probably have expected it not to be at thirty-year seasonal lows any more since I hadn't seen you (or MichaelSTL) post anything about it in a while. I'm sure that was the point that Martinitony was making.

Edited
Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 568
55. cyclonebuster
11:03 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
54. cyclonebuster
10:52 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Quoting sirmaelstrom:


LOL. He didn't say that anywhere that I see. Do tunnels give you telepathic powers now?


I know where his statement was headed.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
53. sirmaelstrom
10:48 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:


LOL a brief spike and Martini thinks we are headed for an ice age..


LOL. He didn't say that anywhere that I see. Do tunnels give you telepathic powers now?
Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 568
52. cyclonebuster
10:45 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
51. cyclonebuster
10:32 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Quoting martinitony:
I knew something was missing, something that Cyclone hadn't posted lately. Now I know why.



LOL a brief spike and Martini thinks we are headed for an ice age..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
50. martinitony
10:24 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
I knew something was missing, something that Cyclone hadn't posted lately. Now I know why.

Member Since: July 29, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 970
48. cyclonebuster
9:36 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Quoting MichaelSTL:
Extreme warming indeed - the 12 month average for the Arctic has gone off the graph:



Time to rescale another graph?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
45. cyclonebuster
8:38 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Gulfstream Kinetic energy can also do this in my "Underwater Suspension Tunnel" idea and will work in both the Kuroshio current and the Gulfstream current.The turbualnce and mixing would occur on the discharge end as the cold water sinks through the warmer water below it.



Ocean Front Is Energetic Contributor to Mixing, Data Shows

ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2011) %u2014 Wind blowing on the ocean is a crucial factor mixing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the ocean depths and keeping it from going back into the atmosphere.



Cold heavy water carried over warm lighter water at the Kurioshi front causes energetic turbulence as the top-heavy water seeks equilibrium. (Credit: UW Applied Physics Laboratory)

Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
44. cyclonebuster
7:24 PM GMT on April 14, 2011
Quoting atmoaggie:
Newly published research. Though all-modeled, it all makes sense.

Dependence of climate forcing and response on the altitude of black carbon aerosols

Black carbon aerosols absorb solar radiation and decrease planetary albedo, and thus can contribute to climate warming. In this paper, the dependence of equilibrium climate response on the altitude of black carbon is explored using an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to a mixed layer ocean model. The simulations model aerosol direct and semi-direct effects, but not indirect effects. Aerosol concentrations are prescribed and not interactive. It is shown that climate response of black carbon is highly dependent on the altitude of the aerosol. As the altitude of black carbon increases, surface temperatures decrease; black carbon near the surface causes surface warming, whereas black carbon near the tropopause and in the stratosphere causes surface cooling. This cooling occurs despite increasing planetary absorption of sunlight (i.e. decreasing planetary albedo). We find that the trend in surface air temperature response versus the altitude of black carbon is consistent with our calculations of radiative forcing after the troposphere, stratosphere, and land surface have undergone rapid adjustment, calculated as “regressed” radiative forcing. The variation in climate response from black carbon at different altitudes occurs largely from different fast climate responses; temperature dependent feedbacks are not statistically distinguishable. Impacts of black carbon at various altitudes on the hydrological cycle are also discussed; black carbon in the lowest atmospheric layer increases precipitation despite reductions in solar radiation reaching the surface, whereas black carbon at higher altitudes decreases precipitation.

Climate Dynamics
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-011-1052-y

http://www.springerlink.com/content/9848055772788 9h8/

Anyone have a link/copy not behind the paywall? Wish to give it a thorough read.

Hopefully we'll soon be able to quantify the effect of BC, relative to other forcings, and easily do something about it. Particulate emission control is easy and fairly cheap compared to CO2 and may have as much or more of a role in AGW (we don't know that, yet).

(Unless, of course, billions are limited to dung fires for heating/cooking due to the cost of cleaner energy sources. Then, no amount of attempted particulate controls will help.)


BC is also part of AGW!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221

Viewing: 94 - 44

Page: 1 | 2Blog Index

Top of Page

About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.