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Slide Show: 10 Important Atmospheric Science Experiments

From air, space, and deep in a forest, scientists air out climate models with lab and field work
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THE PERFECT DATA STORM

With some experiments, the goal is to get the best data possible. In some, it's just to survive in one piece. Joshua Wurman , head of the Center for Severe Weather Research Boulder, Colo., likes to be in the thick of it.....[ More ]

DO PLANTS POLLUTE, TOO?

When people talk about pollution, mostly they think of nasty stuff from giant smokestacks that kills nearby plants. What they don't know is that those plants are releasing the same chemicals. Allen Goldstein is on the cutting-edge of research into plant-released volatile organic compounds (VOCs).....[ More ]

HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPO

Scientists have become very good at taking air samples from the ground and plugging them into global carbon dioxide models. What is missing from this picture is a comprehensive view of what is happening higher up.....[ More ]

ON THE HUNT FOR BLACK CARBON

Scientific experiments are designed to benefit science. But what's to stop them from benefiting humanity at the same time? This is the question posed by an ambitious new project headed by Veerabhadran Ramanathan at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego.....[ More ]

MEASURING METHANE

Carbon dioxide, as everybody knows, is the primary culprit in climate change. But many don't know that, pound for pound, methane is the more effective greenhouse gas . Recently, scientists have started looking at methane to understand just how it fits into the climate change picture.....[ More ]

IT'S LIKE WATCHING GASES MIX

Many atmospheric mysteries could be solved if we could just see the interactions happening. Sadly, however, you can't just slice out a hefty piece of the atmosphere's lowest and densest layer, the troposphere, and lug it to a lab to watch a chemical reaction in action.....[ More ]

THE ATMOSPHERE FROM SPACE

What flies more than 400 miles (640 kilometers) above Earth and is better than a satellite? How about six satellites? That's the thinking behind the so-called A-Train (sometimes called the " Afternoon Constellation ")—six satellites, each orbiting just minutes or even seconds behind the previous, taking varying snapshots of clouds and atmospheric gases." Think of it as a cloud researcher's version of a boy band: There's Aqua (he looks at evaporation and movement of water), CloudSat (he measures physical properties of clouds), CALIPSO (he measures aerosols, among other things), PARASOL (he sees microphysical properties), and Aura (the dreamy one in the back that looks at infrared radiation and ozone emissions).....[ More ]

THE FACE OF THE EARTH

Can you imagine what the world would look like if you took Earth's carbon dioxide levels from before the Industrial Revolution and doubled them? Actually, no one can. That's because no one knows exactly how carbon dioxide fits into all of Earth's processes.....[ More ]

THE RIGHT STUFF

Some experiments are done in the lab. Some are done in the field. Others, however, are happening right under our noses. Linnea Avallone , an associate professor at the University of Colorado Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, sees an experiment in every rocket that's launched into the atmosphere.....[ More ]

CAPTURE THAT CARBON

To even make a dent in Earth''s phenomenal carbon dioxide budget surplus, scientists say humans need to begin thinking about capturing large amounts of carbon and burying it . Not hundreds of tons, not even thousands, but millions of tons of carbon dioxide per year.....[ More ]

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