Articles taggés avec ‘Global warming’

EU Funding: Effect of cosmic rays on climate to be quantified

Vendredi 29 août 2008

The EU’s Seventh Framework Programme has granted EUR 2.3 million over the next three years to an experiment that examines the influence of cosmic radiation on the Earth’s climate

 

 
 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 New framework programme for research and technology aiming at better exploiting research capacities in Europe and transforming scientific results into new products, processes and services.
 Individual grants for training and career development of researchers

 

The collaboration, entitled ‘Cosmic rays leaving outdoor droplets - Initial Training Network’ (CLOUD-ITN), began this August and is coordinated by Germany’s Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main. It supports eight PhD and two postdoctoral positions at nine partner institutions across Europe; work will largely be carried out at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN).

The observed climate warming since 1900 is largely attributed to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that are generated by human activity. Changes in solar irradiance are assumed to contribute relatively little to climate change. However, the effects of changes in UV (ultra-violet) radiation or galactic cosmic rays have not yet been quantified. Experiments to be conducted at CERN, a facility that sits astride the Franco-Swiss border, will seek to quantify the interactions of cosmic rays, UV radiation, aerosols and clouds. This in turn should improve our understanding of a so-called ’solar indirect’ contribution to climate change.

Cloud formation is one of the largest uncertainties in the climate change equation. But how do clouds form? When highly energetic galactic cosmic rays (which are generated by supernovas) enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they pull electrons out of the gasses they encounter, leaving a trail of charged molecules (ions) in their wake. New aerosol particles can then form and grow around these ions; water droplets use these particles as ‘condensation nuclei’ to form a cloud.

The CLOUD collaboration has developed an aerosol chamber which, when exposed to an elementary particle beam, can simulate the effects of cosmic rays on aerosol and cloud formation. The first prototype was developed in 2006 and the new, improved chamber will be used to carry out experiments on ion-induced nucleation and ion-aerosol interaction. This will lead to an improved understanding of the mechanisms of cloud formation.

The cloud chamber is a stainless-steel construction which measures 3m by 3.7m and is filled with all of the components thought to make up a cloud (air, water vapour, trace amounts of gases). These are continuously analysed with myriad analysing instruments. One of the analysers is a chemical ion mass spectrometer that can measure sulphuric acid concentrations at less than 0.1 parts per trillion; CLOUD is one of only three groups in the world that operates such an instrument. Galactic cosmic rays are simulated by a Proton Synchrotron accelerator.

The current prototype (called Mk2) will be used to carry out a broad range of important physics experiments over the next few years, after which it will be replaced by a final CLOUD facility that incorporates performance improvements and a newly developed aerosol pressure chamber.

The CLOUD-ITN project provides funds for eight PhD candidates to carry out work and write their theses on this research. A comprehensive training programme for the PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows has been set up, featuring annual summer schools and workshops on topics such as aerosol chemistry and physics, ion-induced aerosol nucleation and the influence of galactic cosmic rays on the climate in the past. The first summer school took place at Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station, Finland, this August.

All of the analysing instruments are provided by the partner institutes and supported by national funding agencies. Project participants include CERN, the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland), the Universities of Helsinki (Finland), Leeds (UK), Reading (UK) and Vienna (Austria), the Institute for Tropospheric Research in Leipzig (Germany) and Ionicon Analytik in Innsbruck, Austria. The University of Lisbon in Portugal and the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy in Sofia, Bulgaria have recently joined the collaboration. Russia’s Lebedev Physical Institute has also been awarded a research grant to support CLOUD activities by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) under the CERN-RFBR agreement on scientific cooperation.

The design manpower for the CLOUD Mk2 facility is provided by PSI, CERN and the University of Lisbon. The construction costs of the CLOUD Mk2 facility will be paid from a common fund shared among the partner institutes and by in-kind contributions.

 
  Source:
Cordis

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EU funding: EUROCITIES Conference on Climate Change and Mobility

Mardi 24 juin 2008

Environment and transport experts from across Europe attend event in London

Around 100 participants from across Europe attended the EUROCITIES Conference on Climate Change and Mobility, which was jointly organised by EUROCITIES’ Environment and Mobility Forums and hosted by Transport for London. The joint session on 3 June was opened by Kia Andreasson (Vice-Mayor of Gothenburg, Political Chair of the Environment Forum) and Niels Torslov (Copenhagen, Technical Chair of the Mobility Forum).

London’s Climate Change Action Plan was presented by Shirley Rodrigues, Head of Environment at the Greater London Authority. The Plan aims to deliver major reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions while also bringing financial benefits in terms of lower energy costs. It includes a series of measures that will drastically improve energy efficiency in buildings, businesses and the transport sector, while also making greater use of renewable energy sources.

A very interesting and fruitful panel discussion included contributions from: Ronan Dantec (Vice Mayor of Nantes), Mario Aymerich (European Investment Bank), Pedro Ballesteros (European Commission - DG Transport and Energy), Ian Hodgson (DG Environment) and Helen Woolston (Transport for London). The speakers analysed how climate change and urban mobility are being addressed at different levels of governance, and how integration can be improved.

More than 65 participants took part in a Projects Fair, starting with an introduction of the European funding opportunities that are available for cities in the mobility and environment sectors, followed by a project brokerage session in which a variety of project proposals were presented by the cities of Düsseldorf, Leeds, Rotterdam, Sheffield and Stockholm, plus the Region of Wallonia (Belgium).

During the afternoon, two parallel workshops dealt with the practical aspects of developing and implementing urban mobility policies that also contribute to tackling climate change. One workshop looked at how to facilitate cooperation among different actors and stakeholders, and the other focused on issues in relation to decision-making procedures.

The Conference was preceded on 2 June by meetings of various EUROCITIES Working Groups that deal with issues related to environment and mobility. Then on 4 June there were separate meetings of the Environment and Mobility Forums during which members discussed their respective ongoing activities and plans for the next two years.

 
  Source:
Eurocities
 
     

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