The Aerosol Climate Initiative is an investment by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that will advance the science of aerosol and cloud modeling and measurement capabilities.
PNNL will take a leadership role in the incorporation of aerosols into climate models, through integrative research on atmospheric aerosol interactions and through development of innovative instrumentation and measurement techniques.
The mission of PNNL's Aerosol Climate Initiative is to advance the current scientific understanding and parameterization of aerosol processes and properties to improve comprehensive climate modeling frameworks and to inform policy decisions related to global climate change and the environmental impacts of aerosols.
The scientific challenges associated with aerosols are complex and demand integration across disciplines. Our approach is focused on understanding the fundamental physical and chemical processes relevant to this problem over a range of temporal and spatial scales. PNNL is using an integrative research approach that draws on our depth and breadth of capabilities in atmospheric chemistry, climate physics, modeling, and measurement to address critical scientific questions related to the role of aerosols in the climate system.
Our approach focuses on addressing science and technology gaps in several critically important areas:
- Improved understanding of aerosol evolution
- Development of a modeling system that will accurately simulate gas-to-aerosol conversion, aerosol aging, and regional transport
- Understanding of the fundamental physics and chemistry involved in aerosol-cloud interactions
- Identification and parameterization of key processes involved in aerosol-cloud interactions
- Assessment of the relative importance of the mechanisms by which aerosols impact clouds
- Incorporation of key microphysical processes into climate models
- Enhancement of scientific instrumentation suite and field measurement capabilities
- Development of new instruments and methods for measurement of properties of atmospheric aerosols and cloud-aerosol properties
While the Initiative is parsed into three focus areas, it is imperative that these are integrated into a single effort. This type of systems perspective is critical to better understanding the interaction of aerosols and clouds and incorporating these processes into climate modeling frameworks.