Effects of Greenhouse Gases Shown in Pole-to-Pole Research Flights

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A series of pole-to-pole research flights conducted by U.S. researchers have provided the most comprehensive picture of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and confirmed some of climate scientists’ more dire concerns about human-caused global warming.

Using sophisticated instruments capable of detecting a wide range of atmospheric components, scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research found evidence that the melting of Arctic ice is leading to significant releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, and that the releases could have significant impact on the climate.

Data collected during the mission, known as HIPPO, also suggests that black carbon particles — released by diesel engines, industrial activities, and fires — are more widely distributed than previously known, particularly in large plumes that travel from Asia, over the central Pacific Ocean, and onto the U.S. West Coast.

“Levels were comparable with those measured in megacities such as Houston or Los Angeles,” said Ryan Spackman, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a member of the research team.

photo: r.rosenberger

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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