Observations of Australian Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN)

Fedele, R 2015, Observations of Australian Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Applied Science, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Observations of Australian Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN)
Author(s) Fedele, R
Year 2015
Abstract Exploratory climate modeling suggests that aerosol effects are of comparable importance as greenhouse gases, as a driver of recent climate trends in the southern hemisphere, including Australia (Rotstayn et al. 2007; Rotstayn et al. 2010). A 2008 CSIRO review considered the possible climatic effects of natural and anthropogenic aerosol located in the Australian region (Rotstayn et al. 2008). Observations and modelling suggest that various regional aerosol sources may be important, but systematic studies of their role in climate change and climate variability are currently lacking.

In addition, the aerosol indirect effects (or the effects aerosols have on cloud formation) are currently the largest uncertainty in the IPCC report estimate of anthropogenic induced climate change (IPCC 2013). A better understanding of aerosol effects is essential in order to reconcile modelled and observed climate variability and climate change.

To this aim, intensive ground-based measurements of ambient aerosols including Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) were made at three locations across Australia: a tropical site located at Gunn Point in the Northern Territory, an urban site located in a suburb approximately 22 km to the west of Sydney in New South Wales and a marine site located at the Cape Grim Baseline Monitoring Station located on the northwest tip of Tasmania.

To summarise the findings of this study, in the tropics biomass burning emissions dominated the aerosol sources in the region and these aerosol were found to be CCN active. The Sydney air shed contained a largely hydrophobic aerosol population sourced from local urban emissions and low numbers of CCN active aerosol. The low numbers of CCN were associated with atmospherically aged aerosol such as sulfate aerosol, Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) and biomass burning aerosol. In Cape Grim, a significant proportion of marine aerosol was found to be CCN active, however source(s) of marine CCN remain unresolved after this study.

The influence of important aerosol sources and processes observed such as biomass burning, urban vehicle emissions, secondary formation and the complexity of marine sources on CCN formation and regulation to the Australian continent will be discussed in this thesis.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Applied Science
Keyword(s) Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN)
Aerosol indirect climate effect
Biomass burning aerosol
Marine aerosol
Urban aerosol
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Created: Thu, 21 Jan 2016, 11:05:14 EST by Denise Paciocco
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