EGU 2019

Are you heading to the EGU 2019? If the answer is ‘yes’ we might have just the right session for you!

Next year, some members of the ATTO team are convening a session at next years EGU titled “Intact Amazon forest – a natural laboratory of global significance” (BG2.4/AS3.35/HS11.64/SSS10.12). This session aims at bringing together scientists who investigate the functioning of the Amazon and comparable intact forest landscapes across spatial and temporal scales by means of observational, modeling, and theoretical studies. Particularly welcome are also presentations of new, interdisciplinary approaches and techniques. We specifically invite contributions from a great variety of projects investigating the Amazon and its significance for the Earth System and hope many of you will submit abstracts to the session!

EGU 2019 is taking place from  April 7 to 12 in Vienna, Austria, as usual. Travel Grants are offered, for example for Early Career Scientists.

Hope to see you there to gain new insights, inspire new approaches and collaborations and share our passion for performing research in this unique ecosystem with global importance.

 

ATTO Newsletter #1

The first edition of our new ATTO Newsletter was just released.

Four times a year, the newsletter will keep you up-to-date on everything that happened in the past several months, such as new scientific articles that have been published, infrastructural updates and meeting that happened. In addition, we provide info on upcoming conferences with abstract submission deadlines or an overview of presentations of ATTO data. And it is also a platform to share some of the stunning photos from the Amazon around the ATTO site, especially to those who don’t follow our Instagram.

To receive the newsletter, please subscribe to our mailing list, subscribe to the RSS feed or follow us on social media. All newsletters will be archived here on the website as well.

Enjoy reading!

New Publication: Air turbulence characteristics in and above the Amazon rainforest canopy

One of our major goals at ATTO is understanding how the Amazon rainforest interacts with the atmosphere above. This includes studying how the characteristics of the air change within and above the tree canopy in terms of atmospheric turbulence. The strength of the wind and the thickness of the canopy determine, among other things, how well the air can mix and to what degree gases from the atmosphere may reach the forest floor and vice versa.

In a new study, the scientists were looking into these processes at two Amazon sites, including ATTO. They found that the lowermost air-layer from the forest floor to about half the tree height is largely decoupled from the air in the upper part of the canopy and above. That is an important finding, as this process may limit the extent to which plant-emitted gases are transported out of the forest canopy into the atmosphere above.
Raoni Aquino and co-authors now published their findings in a new study called “Air turbulence characteristics at multiple sites in and above the Amazon rainforest canopy” in the journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Volume 260-261.

New Publication: Variability of black and brown carbon concentrations

We are currently in the middle of the dry season in the central Amazon basin, where ATTO is located. This time of year is always characterized by lots of biomass burnings, both natural and anthropogenic. Fires produce aerosols, such as black and brown carbon. But the situation isn’t the same every year.

Our researchers studied the concentration of light-absorbing aerosol particles at ATTO over a 5-year period from 2012 to 2017. They found that the aerosol concentration increased significantly during the El Niño of 2015-2016. During that time, the dry season lasted longer than normal and forest and agricultural fires occurred much more frequently compared to other years. The fires produce large amounts of black and brown carbon. These are able to absorb radiation, which has two important effects: firstly, it warms the atmosphere, and secondly, less radiation is able to reach the canopy and forest floor, thus affecting the primary production of the forest. That means that a climatic shift to warmer and drier conditions and potentially stronger and more frequent El Niños could affect the Amazon rainforest in the future.

First-author Jorge Saturno just published the study in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) Issue 18. It is available Open Access and thus freely available for everyone.

New Publication: Aerosol composition and cloud dynamics

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. Thus, they created the first such long-term record in the Amazon.

The results of the study were published in two parts; the first was released in 2016 and focused on the parameterization of the aerosol properties. This provides the scientific community with input for models to better predict atmospheric cycling and future climate. Because clouds are such a vital and highly complex component of the climate system, it is important for models to get them “right” in order to make reliable predictions.

In this newly published second part of the study, the authors focused on defining the most distinctive states of aerosol composition and associated cloud formation conditions in the ATTO region. They distinguished between four separate regimes that alternate throughout the year. For example, they discovered that the atmosphere is practically pristine during certain episodes in the wet season (from March to May), with no detectable influence of pollution. However, throughout the rest of the year, “foreign” aerosols arrive at the site in varying amounts. They include natural aerosol particles such as Saharan dust, but also pollutants such as smoke from biomass burning (wildfires and much more often deforestation fires) within the Amazon or even in Africa.

Part 1 and Part 2 of this study were published by first author Mira Pöhlker in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) Issues 16 and 18. They are available Open Access and thus freely available for everyone.