Washington, Sept 20 (ANI): A team of environmental engineers has for the first time isolated aerosol particles in near pristine pre-industrial conditions in the remote Amazonian Basin north of Manaus, Brazil.
The study could be crucial in understanding cloud formation, determining the specific chemical differences between natural and polluted environments, and modelling how changes in the Amazon Basin might affect the regional and global atmosphere.
"This study shows that in this very pristine environment, there is a close linkage between emissions from plants, aerosols, clouds, and precipitation," said Anne-Marie Schmoltner.
Aerosolos serve as the nuclei on which atmospheric water condenses as climate-important clouds form, but the challenge has been how to create an accurate quantitative understanding of the sources of such aerosol particles.
The study represents an essential step towards providing a snapshot back in time as well as a baseline-pristine rainforest air prior to industrialization - to understand global climate change today.
Sampling from a 40-meter high tower and using a range of techniques, the researchers detected and imaged atmospheric particles.
In the pristine Amazon Basin the scientists detected aerosol particle number concentrations of a mere several hundred per cubic centimetre.
By contrast, in heavily industrialized cities, particle concentrations are in the tens of thousands per cubic centimetre, making it impossible to measure any net change when additional particles, either natural or artificial, are added.
"Those particles are affecting cloud formation and cloud formation is affecting precipitation which is affecting the plants. This is what we call the great tropical reactor," said Scot Martin.
"Looking ahead, we hope to clarify the mechanisms of how vegetation interacts with the atmosphere and elucidate the main natural feedbacks. Doing so will give us a way to monitor atmospheric change accurately in light of ongoing deforestation," said Paulo Artaxo, a physicist at the University of Sao Paulo.
The finding is published in a paper in the journal Science. (ANI)