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Congratulations to PNNL Fellow L. Ruby Leung who was just elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Dr. Leung was cited for “leadership in regional and global computer modeling of the Earth's climate and hydrological processes.” Read the NAE announcement at https://goo.gl/NLY6fu.
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Tiny atmospheric particles called ‘aerosols’ play an important role in climate, air quality and health. Recent research provides new molecular-level insights into how a compound emitted in large quantities by pine trees helps form new atmospheric organic aerosols. The findings reveal key differences in how an important oxidation product of the compound forms clusters with various natural and industrial solvents found in the atmosphere. This information could improve the accuracy of models that simulate the effect of organic aerosols on climate and air quality. Read more at https://goo.gl/3MPWcW.

+Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
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San Francisco storms and Sri Lankan cyclones bear a single signature – a cyclical churning of clouds and rain the size of Alaska called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). This slow-moving weather pattern travels from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific every 30-60 days. PNNL scientists studied the forces that push this global weather pattern along and why it sometimes weakens over Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. Using computer simulations and local data, the research team found that a daily cycle of heat and cloud pulses over these islands can slow the MJO’s progress. Read more at https://goo.gl/QXeZxA.
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Over the last half-century, western Pacific “super typhoons” have intensified. Higher global temperatures enhanced global rainfall, particularly over the tropical oceans. And, according to new research, rain that falls on the ocean reduces salinity, allowing typhoons to grow stronger. This research identifies the importance of studying upper-ocean salinity in addition to ocean temperature when examining the intensity of typhoons. Read more at https://goo.gl/462ddA.
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Scientists have witnessed the birth of atmospheric ice clouds, creating ice cloud crystals in the laboratory and then taking images of the process – documenting the first steps of cloud formation. Researchers witnessed a process known as ice nucleation in unprecedented detail, taking time-lapse movies of the first few seconds of when a particle attracts water vapor, forming ice crystals that become the core of icy cirrus clouds — the high, wispy clouds that act much like a blanket for our planet. Read more at https://goo.gl/261NkC; watch our video at http://bit.ly/2i728HG.
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Cyclones are routine in the Bay of Bengal, but what turns some into epic cyclones and others to mere tropical storms? Researchers discovered that changes in cyclone intensification rates have increased in the northern part of the Bay and decreased in the southern part, resulting in a cyclone identity crisis. What fuels these conditions? Decades-long changes in the El Niño Southern Oscillation, a regular pattern variation of winds and sea surface temperatures affecting the tropics and sub-tropics. Why study this region? The Bay of Bengal provides a valuable case to study conditions that could help other regions around the world affected by hurricanes and cyclones. Learn more at https://goo.gl/Il0yZ7.
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A new study predicts that warming temperatures will contribute to the release into the atmosphere of carbon that has long been locked up securely in the coldest reaches of our planet. Katherine Todd-Brown, a soil and climate expert at PNNL, is an author of a paper that draws upon data collected through 49 separate field experiments around the world. Read more at https://goo.gl/HhH9Qx.
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Intense storms have become more frequent and longer lasting in the Great Plains and Midwest in the last 35 years. What has fueled these storms? According to new research, the temperature difference between the Southern Great Plains and the ocean produces winds that carry moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Plains, fueling more intense storms as the climate warms. Learn more at https://goo.gl/fqFDU9.
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PNNL scientist Jason Tomlinson describes the Multi-Element Water Content Meter attached to the ARM Climate Research Facility research airplane. The instrument measures how much ice and liquid water are in clouds. Jason is part of a team that just returned from a field campaign in Oklahoma where they studied how low clouds impact climate. Learn more https://goo.gl/WeN41q
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PNNL research was recently featured in the Washington Post. The newspaper cited work by scientist Karthik Balaguru that examined the oceanic conditions that triggered Hurricane Patricia – the strongest hurricane to date. Read “This is how you create a record-breaking hurricane” at https://goo.gl/adcvUZ.
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