Researchers reconstruct Pacific storm track in climate model

Apr 18, 2014
The Pacific storm track, seen here in a simulation by NOAA, affects weather and climate around the world. Credit: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

(Phys.org) —The first study that combines different scales—cloud-sized and earth-sized—in one model to simulate the effects of Asian pollution on the Pacific storm track shows that Asian pollution can influence weather over much of the world. The results show that using multiple scales in one model greatly improves the accuracy of climate simulations.

Minghuai Wang and Steven Ghan from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory joined researchers at Texas A&M University, the University of California at San Diego and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to report the work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition online April 14.

Atmospheric aerosols such as pollution can affect the climate by altering . But many studies rely on global climate models that lack the resolution to pick out the fine detail in clouds. Global climate models paint the Earth using pixels about 200 kilometers on a side—whole clouds could fit inside one of these pixels with room to spare.

Wang and Ghan used a computer model with pixels 4 kilometers on a side. Clouds stretch out over many pixels in this model and provide much finer detail. Then the team embedded the high resolution model within the low resolution global model where it could run separately but interact with the global .

"The higher resolution improved the cloud simulations," said Minghuai Wang. "Conventional global scale models usually show a decrease in precipitation in response to man-made aerosols, but we see the increase that we know happens in real life."

Explore further: Asian air pollution affect Pacific Ocean storms

More information: Yuan Wang, Minghuai Wang, Renyi Zhanga, Steven J. Ghan, Yun Lin, Jiaxi Hu, Bowen Pan, Misti Levy, Jonathan H. Jiangb, and Mario J. Molina. "Assessing the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on Pacific storm track using a multiscale global climate model," Proc Natl Acad Sci, Early Edition online the week of April 14-18, 2014, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1403364111.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Asian air pollution affect Pacific Ocean storms

Apr 14, 2014

In the first study of its kind, scientists have compared air pollution rates from 1850 to 2000 and found that anthropogenic (man-made) particles from Asia impact the Pacific storm track that can influence ...

Down-and-dirty details of climate modeling

May 04, 2011

For the first time, researchers have developed a comprehensive approach to look at aerosols—those fine particles found in pollution—and their effect on clouds and climate. Scientists from Pacific ...

Connecting the dots on aerosol details

Jul 27, 2011

Predicting future climate change hangs on understanding aerosols, considered the fine details in the atmosphere. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Center for Atmospheric ...

The brass ring of climate modeling

Aug 05, 2013

Finding a simple way to express complex climate processes is the ultimate prize. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Leeds, Colorado State University, the National Aeronautics ...

Recommended for you

Sculpting tropical peaks

14 hours ago

Tropical mountain ranges erode quickly, as heavy year-round rains feed raging rivers and trigger huge, fast-moving landslides. Rapid erosion produces rugged terrain, with steep rivers running through deep ...

Volcano expert comments on Japan eruption

14 hours ago

Loÿc Vanderkluysen, PhD, who recently joined Drexel as an assistant professor in Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, returned Friday from fieldwork ...

User comments : 0