Environmental Protection

Warm water in the Pacific often creates thunderstorms that become a “global chimney”, which can launch gases into the stratosphere.

Tropical Pacific May Play Huge Role in Global Warming

A group of scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) will begin a project that explores the possibility of storm activity in the Pacific Ocean may contribute to global climate change.

Beginning next week, scientists at the NCAR will be conducting a study to find out just how the high activity of storms that happen in the western tropical Pacific Ocean could play a large role in global warming. Warm water in the Pacific often creates thunderstorms that become a “global chimney”, which can launch gases into the stratosphere. The team of researchers will also explore how these thunderstorms might become more frequent as global temperatures continue to rise.

During the study, the scientists will use a Global Hawk, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to take upper-atmospheric water vapor measurements. Another aircraft will be focus on the air that resides near the ocean surface and will also offer a comprehensive view of the atmosphere from the ocean surface, where gases enter the stratosphere.

The team plans on conducting 16 flights during the research, focusing on storms that send fresh air into the stratosphere and collapsed storms to study the air that remains in the troposphere. For more information, please click here.

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