New Publication: Highly Oxygenated Molecules in the Amazon, Beijing and elsewhere

Air pollution is created by enhanced concentrations of particles in the air. Some of these particles are so large that you can easily see them, such as dust or sand. However many are much smaller so that they can’t be seen with the naked eye. This fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is often more dangerous because smaller particles can penetrate deeper into the lung. In addition, these particles play an important role in our climate system. In the atmosphere, for example, they absorb and reflect light, and act as condensation nuclei for clouds. Thus PM2.5 plays a key role for public health and for climate change.

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Job offer: postdoc in atmospheric science

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to support our team with the challenging and exciting operation of the aerosol measurements at the ATTO site as well as the analysis and publication of the unique measurement data.

The successful candidate will be part of an international team conducting and analysing the long-term observations as well as in-depth process studies of atmospheric aerosols and their links to rainforest ecology, cloud microphysics and hydrological cycling in the Amazon.

Main working location will be Mainz, Germany, with frequent participation in field trips to the Amazon.

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New Publication: biodiversity of microorganisms within aerosols of the Amazon rainforest

It is well established that aerosols are relevant for the climate, for example, because they contribute to cloud formation. However, natural, biological aerosols emitted by plants serve another important purpose. They help disperse living microorganisms across the globe, affecting their distribution. Yet little is known about those bioaerosols emitted by pristine forests such as the Amazon. And even less about the diversity of the microorganisms in the aerosols.

Felipe Souza and co-authors now collected bioaerosols at our ATTO site. Then they extracted and analyzed the DNA to determine the communities present. This is the first study which described the community of microorganisms within aerosols in the Amazon.

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New Publication: rainforest VOC emissions change in El Nino years

OH reactivity (as a measure for VOCs) in the lower part of the graph indicated by the black (2012) and red (2015) lines show maxima at noon and around sunset, respectivelyScience is a lot like life: Things don’t always turn out the way you thought they would.

Recently, Eva Pfannerstill and her team wanted to find out how Amazonian plants react to ecological stresses, such as heat and drought. They wondered if they release more VOCs in such a situation. To do that, they compared data from November 2012 and 2015. 2012 was a pretty “normal” year without any significant temperature or precipitation anomaly. 2015, on the other hand, was influenced by a particularly strong El Nino. It brought extremely hot temperatures and severe drought to the region. However, the scientists were surprised to find that overall emissions were pretty much the same in the two years.Continue reading

New Publication: Comparing air pollution in Manaus and at ATTO by identifying aerosols

You have probably heard a lot about air pollution recently, comparing air pollution in Manaus and in the Amazon rainforest by analyzing what aerosols are present. Edited after Wu et al. (2018)be it because of the massive wildfires in California, smog in India or the diesel emission scandal in Germany. So let’s look into air pollution in the Amazon. Most air pollutants are actually aerosols. Identifying these aerosols and their chemical composition can help us understand where they come from and to what extent certain regions are affected by air pollutions. That is exactly what Li Wu and co-authors did in their new study in the Amazon rainforest.

They collected and analyzed aerosols in two locations: the city of Manaus, a large urban area in Brazil, and the ATTO site in the heart of the forest.Continue reading