Researchers gaze at cloud formations

November 22, 2006

Finnish researchers analyzing cloud formations say ozone destruction in the Earth's stratosphere might be occurring at a faster pace than thought.

Anatoli Bogdan and colleagues at the University of Helsinki say they reached that conclusion after studying low-temperature thin and subvisible cirrus, or SVC.

SVCs cover about one-third of the planet and affect global temperatures by reflecting sunlight back into space and preventing terrestrial heat from escaping into space. In addition, the scientists say ice particles in SVCs have a drying or dehydrating effect on the upper troposphere.

"Here we show, to our best knowledge for the first time, that the small ice particles are not completely solid, as is usually believed, but rather coated with a sulfuric acid/water overlayer," the researchers said.

The coating reduces the rate at which ice particles grow and remove water vapor -- a key greenhouse gas -- from the upper troposphere. That leaves more water vapor to contribute to the greenhouse effect.

The coating further affects greenhouse warming by slightly increasing reflection of sunlight back into space and reducing the escape of terrestrial heat.

The study appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Risks of manipulating the global thermostat

Related Stories

Risks of manipulating the global thermostat

December 12, 2017

If someone offered you a magic pill that claimed to cure all health ailments, would you take it? Let's say you did. Perhaps you'd start eating pizza and ice cream for every meal, since proper nutrition would no longer be ...

Mars atmosphere well protected from the solar wind

December 8, 2017

Despite the absence of a global Earth-like magnetic dipole, the Martian atmosphere is well protected from the effects of the solar wind on ion escape from the planet. New research shows this using measurements from the Swedish ...

How carbon farming can help solve climate change

November 22, 2017

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations pledged to keep the average global temperature rise to below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to take efforts to narrow that increase to 1.5C. To meet those goals we must not only ...

Life could be likelier on icy planets than rocky ones

December 4, 2017

In the hunt for extra-terrestrial life, scientists tend to take what is known as the "low-hanging fruit approach." This consists of looking for conditions similar to what we experience here on Earth, which include at oxygen, ...

Recommended for you

Single-photon detector can count to four

December 15, 2017

Engineers have shown that a widely used method of detecting single photons can also count the presence of at least four photons at a time. The researchers say this discovery will unlock new capabilities in physics labs working ...

Heavy oils and petroleum coke raising vanadium emissions

December 15, 2017

Human emissions of the potentially harmful trace metal vanadium into Earth's atmosphere have spiked sharply since the start of the 21st century due in large part to industry's growing use of heavy oils, tar sands, bitumen ...

A shoe-box-sized chemical detector

December 15, 2017

A chemical sensor prototype developed at the University of Michigan will be able to detect "single-fingerprint quantities" of substances from a distance of more than 100 feet away, and its developers are working to shrink ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.