Aerosol study to look at great unknown in climate science

Researchers at the Australian Government Agency CSIRO are carrying out one of the most comprehensive studies of aerosol concentration and composition in the Antarctic sea ice region to date, in an attempt to better quantify the role of non-carbon particles in cloud formation and subsequent weather impact over the southern hemisphere.

Dispersal of anthropogenic aerosol from Australia over the Southern Ocean will also be investigated. The research vessel Investigator is on a 51-day voyage collecting, amongst several other experiments, data on particulate matter (< 10 µm) composition and concentrations along a route covering the area of the Southern Ocean between Tasmania and the Sabrina Coast of Antarctica. Because this area is one of the cleanest on Earth, researchers hope this work will provide a ‘baseline’ for interpreting results in more polluted regions.

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