Cape-based Project Aims to Strengthen Climate Models

Mar 19, 2013

A satellite image shows a large plume of aerosol moving eastward over the North Atlantic Ocean.
Credit Courtesy of NASA EOS Project Science Office

Humans have been watching clouds since the dawn of time. Still, clouds remain one of the most poorly understood aspects of climate and, thus, climate change. Some of the most vehement scientific debates about climate change center around the role of clouds. As a result, they're one of the largest sources of discrepancies between climate models.

A year-long research project based at Cape Cod National Seashore aims to change that.

The goal of the Two-Column Aerosol Project is to develop a detailed picture of clouds and aerosols, tiny airborne particles that can jumpstart cloud formation or themselves reflect and scatter solar radiation. At the half-way mark, project director Dr. Larry Berg of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory says there have been no major surprises but lots of good data.