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Project details

Title: The Great Barrier Reef as a significant source of climatically relevant aerosol particles
Id: 2452
Investigator(s): Zoran Ristovski
Queensland University of Technology [details]

Karen Wild-Allen
CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere - Hobart [details]

Description: Understanding the role of clouds in the warming and cooling of the planet, and how that role changes in a warming world is one of the biggest uncertainties climate change researchers face. A key feature in this regard is the influence on cloud properties of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), the very small atmospheric aerosol particles necessary for the nucleation of every single cloud droplet. The anthropogenic contribution to CCN is known to be large in some regions; however, the natural processes that regulate CCN over large parts of the globe are less well understood, and particularly in the Great Barrier Reef. The production of new aerosol particles from biogenic sources (forests, marine biota, etc.) is a frequent phenomenon capable of affecting aerosol concentrations, and therefore CCN, on both regional and global scales. The biogenic aerosol particles therefore have a major influence on cloud properties and hence climate and the hydrological cycle. Determining the magnitude and drivers of biogenic aerosol production in different ecosystems is therefore crucial for the future development of climate models. The fundamental questions that this study will address are: 1. What is the significance of this ecosystem as a natural source of aerosol particles? 2. How strong is this source at the regional level? 3. What is the mechanism of particle production over the GBR?
Years: 2016


Journal Article

Scientific Highlight

Voyage Summary


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List of surveys that this project was on.

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Survey InvestigatorDescription

Professor Zoran Ristovski (QUT) RV Investigator research voyage in2016_v05, titled "The Great Barrier Reef as a significant source of climatically relevant aerosol particles." Voyage objectives The main objective of the voyage is to acquire observations that will address four key science questions about the role of atmospheric composition in the GBR region: 1. Do marine aerosols along the north Queensland coast have a significant signature that is coral derived? 2. How does this aerosol change its physicochemical properties, especially its capacity to act as CCN, as winds carry it from the reefs to the north Queensland rainforests? 3. What is the significance of this ecosystem as a source of aerosol particles and will potential degradation of the reef cause significant variations in particle number being generated over the reef. 4. Should changes in this aerosol, associated with reef degradation, be taken into account when modelling the radiative climate and rainfall? * Two stations on the western side of the GBR. These stations will enable us to sample the air masses that have traversed over the reefs and have been enriched by the emissions from the reefs. * One station on the eastern side of the GBR. As the predominant wind direction during the trade wind season is south easterlies this station will enable us to characterise the remote pacific air masses coming towards the GBR. * Optics station in deep water (>200m) east of Heron Island to characterise the sea surface spectral reflectance and in water optical properties including the spectral absorption of optically active constituents in the water. Supplementary Project: Biogeochemical and optical properties of the Coral Sea and Queensland Shelf Objectives 1. To collect high resolution biogeochemical observations for validation of the 4km and 1km near real time eReefs models ( 2. To get modellers in the field to better understand methods and issues associated with modern methods of data collection 3. To collect in situ optical data for the NASA CORAL project which is operating a very high resolution airborne hyperspectral sensor along selected transects in the GBR. Piggy-back Project: Project 3DGBR - Multibeam bathymetry mapping of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea Objectives: 1. To acquire high-resolution multibeam bathymetry, backscatter and water column data along the voyage track for the duration of the voyage. The new bathymetry data will be used to improve the accuracy of the 100 m-resolution DEM for the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, called the 'gbr100' grid: 2. On an opportunity basis and subject to workload, acquire sub-bottom profile data using the SBP120 profiler during the voyage. The sub-bottom profiler data will be used in conjunction with the multibeam data for ongoing marine geoscience projects in the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. For more information please refer to the Voyage Plan.
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