Over the southeast Atlantic Ocean, a 2,000-mile-long plume of smoke from African agricultural fires meets a near-permanent cloud bank offshore. Their meeting makes a natural laboratory for studying the interactions between cloud droplets and the tiny airborne smoke particles. This month, NASA’s P-3 research aircraft and a team of scientists return on their third deployment to this region as part of the Observations of Aerosols Above Clouds and their Interactions mission, or ORACLES, gathering data on how aerosols (such as smoke) affect clouds, and in turn, Earth’s climate.
“The cloud deck in the southeast Atlantic is one of the largest on the globe,” said atmospheric scientist Paquita Zuidema of the University of Miami, Florida, and co-principle investigator for the ORACLES deployment. “At the same time, the smoke layer stretches all the way to South America. The combination of smoke and clouds generates enough atmospheric warming to affect precipitation patterns over Africa in climate models, making it imperative to develop better confidence in the model predictions.”
Original Title: African smoke-cloud connection target of NASA airborne flights
Full Text of the Original Article: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2819/