In this Earth Exploration Toolbook chapter, students select, explore, and analyze satellite imagery. They do so in the context of a case study of the origins of atmospheric carbon monoxide and aerosols, tiny solid airborne particles such as smoke from forest fires and dust from desert wind storms. They use the software tool ImageJ to animate a year of monthly images of aerosol data and then compare the animation to one created for monthly images of carbon monoxide data.
In this hands-on activity, participants learn the characteristics of the five layers of the atmosphere and make illustrations to represent them. They roll the drawings and place them in clear plastic cylinders, and then stack the cylinders to make a model column of the atmosphere.
This video illustrates how atmospheric particles, or aerosols (such as black carbon, sulfates, dust, fog), can affect the energy balance of Earth regionally, and the implications for surface temperature warming and cooling.
This is the most recent assessment of ozone depletion. Produced by the WMO and UNEP every four years since 1985, the assessment is the work of over 300 scientists including some from NOAA. The 2010 report highlights advances in the understanding of the role greenhouse gases play in ozone alteration. It also includes updated information for policymakers including ozone projections for the 21st century.
Atmospheric Aerosol Properties and Climate Impacts
January 15, 2009
A detailed look at global distributions and properties of airborne particles known as "aerosols." The report examines the various ways in which aerosols influence climate, and the uncertainties in our ability to observe and measure these particles' impact on the climate system.
Climate Projections Based on Emissions Scenarios for Long-Lived and Short-Lived Radiatively Active Gases and Aerosols
September 3, 2008
An assessment of the effects of short-lived gases and particles in the atmosphere. They can significantly change regional surface temperatures. By the year 2100 short-lived gases and particles may account for as much as 40 percent of the warming over the continental U.S. in summertime.
Scenarios of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Atmospheric Concentrations
June 30, 2007
The findings presented in this report draw from scenarios designed to stabilize the influence of a suite of greenhouse gases. Three climate-modeling groups independently developed a reference scenario and then developed four contrasting stabilization scenarios for comparison.
Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences
March 31, 2006
This report addresses previously identified discrepancies between observations and simulations of surface and atmospheric temperature trends. It is an important revision to the conclusions of earlier reports from the U.S. National Research Council and the IPCC.