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Posts Tagged ‘CERN’

PTR-TOF Technology helps understanding how forests grow clouds

Emissions from forests influence very first stage of cloud formation – VOC concentration in CERN’s CLOUD chamber measured with PTR-TOF-MS.

In a paper published in the prestigious journal Science today, CERN’s CLOUD experiment has shown that biogenic vapours emitted by trees and oxidised in the atmosphere have a significant impact on the formation of clouds, thus helping to cool the planet.

Organic vapor concentrations such as Pinanediol were measured in the CLOUD chamber by scientists from the “Institut für Ionenphysik und Angewandte Physik” of the University of Innsbruck using advanced PTR-TOF technology, allowing for real-time quantification of tiniest concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

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PTR-TOF technology contributes to CLOUD experiment at CERN

New results have been published by the CLOUD team in the prestigious journal „Nature“.

The CLOUD experiment at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) reports a major advance towards solving a long-standing enigma in climate science: how do aerosols – tiny solid or liquid particles suspended in the air – form in the atmosphere, and which gases are responsible? This is a key question in understanding the climate, since aerosols cause a cooling effect by reflecting sunlight and by seeding cloud droplets.

Researchers found out that minute concentrations of amine vapours combine with sulphuric acid to form aerosol particles at rates similar to those observed in the atmosphere. Amines are emitted both from human activities such as animal husbandry, and from natural sources.

The PTR-TOF-MS technology was used to monitor the CLOUD aerosol-chamber by Prof. Armin Hansel and his team, Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics of the University of Innsbruck.

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First results of CERN’s CLOUD experiment now published in NATURE journal

PTR-MS technology made in Austria contributes to important results of the CLOUD experiments at CERN.

The CLOUD experiment has been designed to study the effect of cosmic rays on the formation of atmospheric aerosols – tiny liquid or solid particles suspended in the atmosphere – under controlled laboratory conditions. Atmospheric aerosols are thought to be responsible for a large fraction of the seeds that form cloud droplets.

The CLOUD results show that trace vapors assumed until now to account for aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere can explain only a tiny fraction of the observed atmospheric aerosol production. The results also show that ionization from cosmic rays significantly enhances aerosol formation. Precise measurements such as these are important in achieving a quantitative understanding of cloud formation, an important contribution to climate models.

The prestigious NATURE journal has now published first results from the CLOUD experiment, where two PTR-MS instruments from the Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics of the University of Innsbruck contributed to this cutting edge project. A quadrupole based PTR-MS was used to monitor trace concentrations of Ammonia and a PTR-TOF-MS system (based on time of flight technology) continuously scanned organic vapor concentrations in the CLOUD chamber.

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