Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Study highlights need to adjust climate models

Reuters: Sea spray and microscopic plants from the tropical Atlantic are destroying greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere at a faster pace than scientists had thought, British researchers said on Wednesday. The findings published in the journal Nature mean current climate models may need adjusting and they underscore the difficulties in trying to predict future temperature changes, the researchers said.

"One of the key things we need to do in the future is reduce uncertainty around the natural processes that destroy greenhouse gases," said Alastair Lewis of Britain's National Centre for Atmospheric Science, who helped lead the study. "This is one of the first times we have been able to go and see how those models were doing at predicting the rate of destruction of some greenhouse gases."

Year-round measurements from an observatory on the Cape Verde island of Sao Vicente allowed the team to measure how fast the chemicals bromine and iodine oxide -- produced from sea spray and phytoplankton -- attack and break down ozone. They found that the chemicals were gobbling up 50 percent more ozone in the part of the lower atmosphere -- about 1 kilometer above the Earth's surface -- than current climate models suggest….

I hear the words "sea spray," and my mind turns to Hokusai. Wikimedia Commons

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