Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hurricanes and Aerosols Simulation 2017

Image result for aerosol

Climate Change
Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

NASA has produced a simulation tracking aerosols over land and oceans for the period August 1 to November 1, 2017.

"The first thing that is noticeable," according to the release, "is how far the particles can travel. Smoke from fires in the Pacific Northwest gets caught in a weather pattern and pulled all the way across the US and over to Europe. Hurricanes form off the coast of Africa and travel across the Atlantic to make landfall in the United States. Dust from the Sahara is blown into the Gulf of Mexico. To understand the impacts of aerosols, scientists need to study the process as a global system.

"During the 2017 hurricane season, the storms are visible because of the sea salt that is captured by the storms. Strong winds at the surface lift the sea salt into the atmosphere and the particles are incorporated into the storm. Hurricane Irma is the first big storm that spawns off the coast of Africa. As the storm spins up, the Saharan dust is absorbed in cloud droplets and washed out of the storm as rain. This process happens with most of the storms, except for Hurricane Ophelia. Forming more northward than most storms, Ophelia traveled to the east picking up dust from the Sahara and smoke from large fires in Portugal. Retaining its tropical storm state farther northward than any system in the Atlantic, Ophelia carried the smoke and dust into Ireland and the UK."

Dust, sea salt and smoke, blowin' in the wind, all used in understanding of atmospheric physics.

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