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Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change
  • Aerosol particle diversity in models

    Particle Profusion Conclusion

    More than 70 researchers from 46 international institutions, including PNNL, compared the ability of 31 models to simulate comprehensive physical and chemical characteristics and lifecycle of carbon-containing atmospheric vapor and particles. They found differences of more than an order of magnitude in the simulated global atmospheric payload of these tiny particles and little evidence that more complex simulations designed to study human impacts on organic aerosol are more accurate than simpler representations.

  • conceptual ice particles in cirrus clouds

    When Nudge Comes to Shove

    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is leading an international effort to run coordinated numerical experiments on major climate models from all over the world. PNNL scientists and their collaborators refined a widely used numerical strategy called "nudging," correctly revealing original model characteristics and offering a better way to study how atmospheric particles influence ice formation in clouds that affect the Earth's energy budget and influence precipitation.

  • 2014 Key Accomplishments

    2014 Key Scientific Accomplishments Report Now Available

    The 2014 Key Scientific Accomplishments report in fundamental and computational sciences is now available as a downloadable PDF. This 32-page full-color brochure highlights some of the year's most noteworthy science achievements by Pacific Northwest National Laboratoryscientists.

  • natural gas drill rig at sunset

    Global Natural Gas Boom Alone Won't Slow Climate Change

    An analysis of global energy use, economics and the climate shows that without new climate policies, expanding the current bounty of inexpensive natural gas alone would not slow the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions worldwide over the long term. The researchers, working at PNNL's Joint Global Change Research Institute and their international collaborators, conducted modeling studies showing a global abundance of inexpensive natural gas would also accelerate economic growth and expand overall energy use.

  • dust can nucleate ice in clouds

    Dust Takes Detour on Ice-Cloud Journey

    Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory closed one more gap in understanding how—and when—cloud ice crystals form. They found that dust, usually a primary catalyst encouraging ice formation, when modified by pollution from combustion becomes less attractive for water vapor to initiate ice crystals. The "aged" dust particles, poor at catalyzing ice crystals, significantly alter the cloud environment by decreasing the number and concentration of ice crystals and ice water content.

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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