The natural ‘Himalayan aerosol factory’ can affect climate

UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

Research News

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IMAGE: PRISTINE LOCATIONS LIKE THE HIMALAYAS ARE USEFUL WHEN TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE NATURAL ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS BEFORE THE INDUSTRIALIZATION. view more CREDIT: FEDERICO BIANCHI

Large amounts of new particles can form in the valleys of the Himalayas from naturally emitted gases and can be transported to high altitudes by the mountain winds and injected into the upper atmosphere.

The emitted particles may eventually affect climate by acting as nuclei for cloud condensation. These new findings about particles formation and sources will contribute to a better understanding of past and future climate.

“To understand how the climate has changed over the last century we need to know as reliably as possible the natural atmospheric conditions before the industrialization,” says Associate Professor Federico Bianchi from the University of Helsinki’s Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR).

In order to do that scientists are looking for pristine locations around the world where human influence is minimal. An international group of researchers has now completed a comprehensive study at the Nepal Climate Observatory at Pyramid station, located in the proximity of the Everest base camp at 5050 m above sea level. There, they were able to investigate the formation of atmospheric particles far from human activities. The results were published today in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience.

Particles from natural origin

The study shows that up-valley winds bring vapours emitted by vegetation at the Himalayan foothills to higher altitudes. During this transport, these gases are transformed by photochemical reactions into compounds of very low volatility, which rapidly form a large number of new aerosol particles. These are then transported into the free troposphere, a region of the atmosphere with very low human influence.

“You can think of the whole Himalayas as an ‘aerosol factory’ that continuously produces a large amount of particles and then directly injects them high up into the atmosphere above the Everest”, says Bianchi. We calculate from these measurements that the transport of particles may increase present-day particle concentration above the Himalayas by a factor of up to two or more.

It’s the first time the scientists consider mountain venting as a big potential source of atmospheric particles in the free troposphere.

Additionally, the freshly formed particles have natural origin with little evidence of the involvement of anthropogenic pollutants. This process is therefore likely to be essentially unchanged since the pre-industrial period, and may have been one of the major sources contributing to the upper atmosphere aerosol population during that time. These new observations are therefore important to better estimate the pre-industrial baseline of aerosol concentrations in this large region. The inclusion of such processes in climate models may improve the understanding of climate change and predictions of future climate.

Future studies shall focus on a better quantification of this phenomenon and investigate it also in other high mountain regions.

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Article:

Federico Bianchi, Heikki Junninen, Alessandro Bigi, Victoria A. Sinclair, Lubna Dada, Cristopher R. Hoyle, Qiaozhi Zha, Lei Yao, Lauri R. Ahonen, Paolo Bonasoni, Stephany Buenrostro Mazon, Manuel Hutterli, Paolo Laj, Katrianne Lehtipalo, Juha Kangasluoma1, Veli-Matti Kerminen, Jenni Kontkanen, Angela Marinoni, Sander Mirme, Ugo Molteni, Tuukka Petäjä, Matthieu Riva, Clemence Rose, Karine Sellegri, Chao Yan, Douglas R. Worsnop, Markku Kulmala, Urs Baltensperger & Josef Dommen. Biogenic particles formed in the Himalaya as an important source of free tropospheric aerosols. Nature Geoscience, December 2020.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-020-00661-5

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December 10, 2020 10:16 am

I’m sure it happens but the largest effect on climate by far is global cloudiness and that depends, not on condensation nuclei which are plentiful enough already, but rather on the degree of meridionality of jet stream tracks which appears to be solar induced via changes in ozone concentrations above the poles relative to ozone concentrations above the equator.
The more meridional those tracks the longer the lines of air mass mixing and the more clouds. Simple.
I wrote this some time ago and no rebuttal has yet been forthcoming:

https://joannenova.com.au/2015/01/is-the-sun-driving-ozone-and-changing-the-climate/

Pauleta
December 10, 2020 10:26 am

Do you need that many authors to publish one paper to reach this conclusion?

Reply to  Pauleta
December 10, 2020 2:13 pm

In academia, the coin of the realm is getting your name published on papers. Graduate students do a lot of work to help the lead authors, without much other direct compensation for their efforts.

The system is extremely exploitative in that having your name past the third name is worth hardly anything. It’s it’s not even as good as being Mr. Irrelevant in the pro football draft.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Irrelevant

Pauleta
Reply to  Ralph Dave Westfall
December 10, 2020 7:57 pm

Yep, I used to be in Academia, but usually when I was in these clown-car articles I actually had to do something, not like many people that begged the PI to be in.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Ralph Dave Westfall
December 10, 2020 9:23 pm

Not just academia. While I was out on holiday, my program manager submitted an abstract to a conference, with his name, the name of the director of research, my name and the name of a colleague on a paper. I wrote the paper, did all the graphics, got it set for submittal. The colleague asked me to remove his name, since he hadn’t done anything. I then nursed it through the internal review cycle, with no help or support from my remaining “co-authors”, and, after approval, submitted it. The paper was accepted, and I put together the presentation, and gave it. Still without any support from my two remaining “co-authors”.

Oh, and my name came last in the list of authors.

So this rubbish happens in industry also.

At least while a graduate student, my professor participated in writing the report, and put his name after mine.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 11, 2020 9:54 am

My experience the same, some software or sales engineers that couldn’t do equilibrium or kinetic calculations and had never attended the tests got to be co-authors…When I see a dozen authors on a paper i assume only 2 of them actually wrote it, and the rest were deemed to deserve credit by some higher authority, based on desire for money or marketing. In academia…the need to publish, have citations, and peer adulation.

Ron Long
December 10, 2020 10:51 am

“You can think of the whole Himalayas as an ‘aerosol factory’…”. Try getting a permit, in whichever large city, to construct an “aerosol factory”, which then injects the aerosol into the atmosphere, and see what kind of attention you get.

beng135
December 10, 2020 11:07 am

Alittle interesting, but there’s nothing can be done about it. Oh wait, stop using fossil fuels. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket.

Alan
Reply to  beng135
December 10, 2020 6:21 pm

We could start wild fires and burn all the plants at the foot Himalayas.

Reply to  beng135
December 11, 2020 12:22 am

We are talking about trees expelling gasses at the foot of a mountain, and you yammer about fossil fuels? But look, you got your name to display on the interweb thingy!!! Its almost like you partook in the “academic clown car paper”.

beng135
Reply to  paranoid goy
December 11, 2020 6:25 am

You misspelled guy. And yes, everybody IS out to get you.

Bill Rocks
December 10, 2020 11:26 am

Settled science, again?

Peta of Newark
December 10, 2020 11:36 am

Good grief
Just look how many of them are queueing up to go on a JOANI** to Everest Basecamp
At me and yous expense

Mendacious little rats – if they were any more transparent they’d be completely invisible
here’s hoping eh (and that they STFU)

**Journey Of Absolutely No Importance

fred250
December 10, 2020 11:43 am

“It’s the first time the scientists consider mountain venting as a big potential source of atmospheric particles in the free troposphere.”</em.

ummm.. once they figure this out…

the "science" will be "settled"

Really it will ! Promise !

Bruce Cobb
December 10, 2020 11:53 am

The Himalayas have a case of the vapours? Who knew? No wonder they are so temperamental and unpredictable!

Nick Schroeder
December 10, 2020 12:15 pm

Geo-engineering and studies like this one make the same basic observation.
Increase the albedo and the earth cools.
Decrease the albedo and the earth warms.
Remove the albedo and the earth absorbs the full 394 K, 121 C, 250 F ISR getting hot^3.
That scenario is a complete contradiction of RGHE.

December 10, 2020 12:22 pm

The Indian Monsoon dissolves CO2 into the streams of the Himalayas and forms CaCO3…..Nature at work…..who knew?

Climate believer
December 10, 2020 12:28 pm

“These new findings about particles formation….”

Isn’t this the Asian Tropospheric aerosol layer?

RickWill
December 10, 2020 12:28 pm

It is amazing how many silly ideas can be dreamt up to get Climate Change funding on the premise that Climate is the result of some incredibly delicate energy balance known as the “Greenhouse Effect”.

What about the incredibly powerful atmospheric process that limits the equatorial open ocean surface to 32C across all three tropical oceans.

No one disputes the fact that the water immediately abutting sea ice in the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Ocean has the same temperature just below 273K despite being widely separated. Why is it so hard to contemplate that there is a common atmospheric process, related to the properties of water, that imbue the same tight control on equatorial water temperature around the globe.

Bruce Cobb
December 10, 2020 12:41 pm

OK, I’m thinking of the Himalayas as an aerosol factory, and wow, think of all the whipped cream they must have there. Come to think of it, is that what makes them white?

Gordon A. Dressler
December 10, 2020 1:14 pm

From the above article: “‘To understand how the climate has changed over the last century we need to know as reliably as possible the natural atmospheric conditions before the industrialization,’ says Associate Professor Federico Bianchi from the University of Helsinki’s Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)”.

Wow, I never knew that worldwide “industrialization” started only about a century ago (i.e., after around 1920).

More that a few folks consider around 1760 AD as the start of the Industrial Age (aka “Industrial Revolution) wherein production methods using machine tools driven by steam power and water power, new chemical manufacturing processes and new iron production processes, and the rise of the the mechanized factory system replaced human- and animal-powered production methods. (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution )

Finally, also in the above article: “It’s the first time the scientists consider mountain venting as a big potential source of atmospheric particles in the free troposphere.”

Well, that’s just another nail-in-the-coffin of the AGW/CAGW alarmist claim from years ago that “the science is settled” regarding climate change.

John in Oz
December 10, 2020 1:28 pm

“To understand how the climate has changed over the last century we need to know as reliably as possible the natural atmospheric conditions before the industrialization,”

The next IPCC report will not include any mention of this as natural causes are not to be considered.

Not knowing the natural causes prior to industrialisation has never stopped the science being settled and we’re all doomed, doomed I say.

tygrus
December 10, 2020 1:50 pm

Aerosol particles are naturally released from trees (eg. eucalypts), larger amounts from natural fires, erosion & wind, volcanic activity. Cosmic rays let in by a reduced Solar wind activity (during less Sun spot activity) seeds clouds. The fires & dust storms during drought eventually encourage the increased rainfall that follows.

Their climate models can be tuned to give a distribution of clouds & rainfall over a decade but can’t predict when La Nina/El Nino will change & when. It’s like saying I can count to 100 accurately but I say the numbers in a random order & claim that because my series has the right average & distribution it therefore must be accurate. IPCC in previous reports have noted how bad the cloud & rainfall predictions are in the included models.

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  tygrus
December 10, 2020 5:32 pm

… and don’t forget to include dust from meteors as they burn up in earth’s atmosphere.

Ozonebust
December 10, 2020 3:12 pm

“The emitted particles may eventually affect climate by acting as nuclei for cloud condensation”.

This process is called coalescing.
verb (used without object), co·a·lesced, co·a·lesc·ing.
“to grow together or into one body”

Depending on the size – shape and type of particle – condensation will occur at different temperatures / pressures.

Geoff Sherrington
December 10, 2020 3:34 pm

Did the authors succeed in defining, as they set out to do, the pre-industrial conditions at this site? Like before aircraft flew back and forth nearby, adding their various emissions?

Alexy Scherbakoff
December 10, 2020 3:57 pm
Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
December 10, 2020 8:28 pm

But we are studying the change in particulate amounts, not their abundance.
Theblurb has “… we need to know as reliably as possible the natural atmospheric conditions before the industrialization” Geoff S

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
December 10, 2020 9:01 pm

Sweet Fanny Adams there at the moment. How do they expect to measure a change from nothing to bugger all?

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
December 11, 2020 2:45 pm

By computer model.
Sorry scratch that – by an “ensemble” 30 computer models.

Phil Salmon
December 11, 2020 1:34 am

Large amounts of new particles can form in the valleys of the Himalayas from naturally emitted gases and can be transported to high altitudes by the mountain winds and injected into the upper atmosphere.

The emitted particles may eventually affect climate by acting as nuclei for cloud condensation. These new findings …

This looks like yet another in an endless parade of cognitive fallacies / logical collapses of the type:
“We’re discovering this process for the first time so it must be acting for the first time – that’s nice, we can politicise it as a new damnation of climate sinnners.”

That’s the first one this week – I wonder what the next will be?

December 11, 2020 2:43 pm

Himalayan uplift is one of the mechanisms causing the long cooling since the Cretaceous, along with the joining of the Americas and the isolation of Antarctica and circumpolar flow of the southern ocean around the frigid continent.

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