Feeds

Manchester boffins hunt tropical storms in Darwin

Why does it always rain on me?

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Researchers from the University of Manchester are heading off to Australia next week in search of a better understanding of the role dust particles play in the weather, ozone layer depletion, and possibly even in climate change.

Yes, we know, it sounds like a lovely project: swapping a cold, gloomy Manchester winter for the beaches and barbies of Australian summer, but the team is actually headed to Darwin, where the rainy season is just about to begin. Useful, if what you want to study is the formation of tropical thunderstorms and the high-altitude clouds they produce.

The researchers will be studying aerosols, the tiny particles around which water vapour condenses and forms clouds. The kind of aerosol that seeds a cloud determines many of the cloud's future properties. They can be sea salt, desert dust, particles from pollution and so on.

Storms carry aerosols up into a layer of the atmosphere known as the Tropical Tropopause Layer, stuck somewhere between the main tropical weather systems and the stratosphere. What goes on in the region is relatively poorly understood, and the Manchester scientists are hoping this work will be revealing.

Professor Geraint Vaughan, who will lead the study, explained that understanding the atmospheric processes in the tropics is important because tropical weather systems drive global atmospheric circulation.

"Deep thunderstorms are a major feature of tropical weather, but their overall effect on the transport of material to high levels is poorly understood. This is important because it helps determine the composition of the stratosphere and the kinds of clouds which form high in the atmosphere."

He added: "If we can understand the nature and composition of these clouds, we will be able to use this information to help predict future climate change."

The scientists will fly two small planes through as many storms as they can over a four month period. The data will be used to create models of the storms, the clouds, and the chemicals they contain. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.