DOE allocates $ 15.6 million for atmospheric research to improve climate modeling

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WASHINGTON DC – The US Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded $ 15.6 million for new research studying the properties, formation and interactions between atmospheric clouds and the aerosols that form them. These projects will help scientists better understand one of the most difficult aspects of modeling the Earth system and improve their ability to accurately predict weather and climate conditions, a critical tool in the Biden administration’s efforts to combat against the climate emergency.

“Earth’s atmosphere holds the answers to how our planet is changing in the face of the climate crisis, as well as how we can predict and mitigate the effects,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. “By putting some of America’s most talented researchers on the case, coupled with the unparalleled scientific capabilities of the DOE, we will better understand how this crisis unfolds, paving the way for solutions that leave a safer and healthier world for the future. our children and grandchildren. “

Aerosols are tiny particles that absorb water and absorb and scatter light, which changes how easily the atmosphere forms clouds. Clouds in turn modify aerosols by changing their chemistry. These processes, among the most complex interactions to model, affect temperature, precipitation patterns, and the amount of sunlight that reaches and leaves the Earth’s surface, making them an essential aspect of producing accurate climate predictions. .

These projects were selected through a competitive peer review as part of a funding opportunity from the DOE’s Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program, sponsored by the Bureau of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) within of the Science Office. The ASR program is designed to observe and advance understanding of the atmospheric system in a holistic and comprehensive manner that addresses a range of interrelated climate processes, resulting in improved models of the Earth system that can increase confidence in decisions and policy development. These studies will use data collected by the DOE’s user facility for atmospheric radiation measurement, the world’s leading facility for ground-based observations of atmospheric processes.

Fellows will pursue research in a range of atmospheric scientific topics, including physical processes affecting:

  • Interactions between clouds and aerosols
  • The formation and life cycle of atmospheric aerosols, including their impact on the climate
  • The formation, growth and precipitation of low clouds over the land and the ocean
  • The properties, life cycle and organization of deep convective clouds, such as thunderstorms
  • Clouds, aerosols and the surface energy balance of the central Arctic

Today’s funding totals $ 15.6 million in fiscal 2021 dollars for three-year projects. A list of projects is available on the BER website under “What’s New”.



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