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Earth’s atmosphere more chemically reactive in cold climates

Becky Alexander in the cold room of the UW’s IsoLab with sections of an ice core. Her group is now analyzing ice cores from Antarctica to see if they show the same trend as in Greenland.

Unseen in the air around us are tiny molecules that drive the chemical cocktail of our atmosphere. As plants, animals, volcanoes, wildfires and human activities spew particles into the atmosphere, some of these molecules act as cleanup crews that remove that pollution. The main molecules responsible for breaking down all these emissions are called oxidants. The oxygen-containing molecules, mainly ozone and hydrogen-based detergents, react with pollutants and reactive greenhouse gases, such as methane.  

Read more at UW Today »

Models, observations not so far apart on planet’s response to greenhouse gas emissions

Kyle Armour

One of the most hotly debated numbers in climate science is how warm our planet will become given various green house gas levels. The degree to which warming will occur depends on the amount of emissions, which make these calculations crucial for global policy making to curb global warming. But a UW study shows that two leading methods for calculating how hot the planet will get are not as far apart as they have appeared. 

Read more at UW Today »