The properties and dynamics of clouds are strongly dependent on the types and amounts of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. They act as so-called cloud condensation nuclei as they initiate the formation of cloud droplets. Therefore, it is crucial to gain a sound understanding of the emission patterns, properties, and seasonal variability of aerosols in relation to the cloud life cycles. In order to achieve this goal, our aerosol group was able to record such data at ATTO. Over the course of a full year, they continuously measured aerosols and their properties in the atmosphere at the 80 m tower.… Continue reading
One of the objectives of ATTO is to study the long-range transport of particles, such as sulfate, across the Atlantic to the Amazon rainforest and to better understand atmospheric cycling.
A good opportunity for that arose in 2014. Some of the most active volcanoes worldwide, the Nyamuragira and Mount Nyiragongo volcanoes in Congo in Central Africa, erupted violently. During this eruption, they emitted a lot of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere. This gas that is later converted to sulfate particles by oxidation. Usually, these particles are diluted in the atmosphere as they mix with other particles. It thus becomes difficult to distinguish them far away from their source.… Continue reading
Scientists from our Aerosol group published a new “Long-term study on coarse mode aerosols in the Amazon rainforest with the frequent intrusion of Saharan dust plumes”.
They analyzed the coarse fraction of aerosols (those that are at least 1 micrometer in diameter) every 5 minutes for over 3 years and were surprised to find that over this period the size and abundance of these “large” aerosol particles remained fairly constant. In contrast, the smaller aerosols are heavily influenced by the seasonal occurrence of smoke from fires. This coarse fraction, however, is mainly comprised of aerosols derived from the rainforest itself (such as pollen).… Continue reading