Aerosol Characterization Experiment-Asia

Project Description
The Aerosol Characterization Experiments (ACE) are designed to increase our understanding of how atmospheric aerosol particles affect the Earth's climate system. ACE-Asia was the fourth in this series of experiments organized by the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Program (A Core Project of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program).

ACE-Asia took place during the spring of 2001 (schedule) off the coast of China, Japan and Korea (map). The ACE-Asia region includes many types of aerosol particles of widely varying composition and size derived from one of the largest aerosol source regions on Earth. These particles include those emitted by human activities and industrial sources, as well as wind-blown dust. Results from ACE-Asia have improved our understanding of how atmospheric aerosols influence the chemical and radiative properties of the EarthÂ’s atmosphere. Specifically:

The dust we can observe by satellite, transported half way around the globe, is not just dust, it is dust mixed with pollution. Air pollution changes dust aerosols in many ways, adding black carbon, toxic materials, and acidic gases to the mineral particles. Atmospheric chemistry and its impact on air quality and climate change are truly global issues.

We can not measure dust in one region and assume that dust everywhere around the Earth has the same impact on climate. The dust that is transported from East Asia to the Pacific does not absorb as much light as the dark aerosol from South Asia or some previous measurements of dust from the Sahara Desert. There are dramatic regional differences in the chemical and optical properties of aerosols.

Combining ACE-Asia suborbital and satellite measurements yields monthly average (April 2001) cloud-free aerosol radiative forcing at the surface exceeding -30 W m-2 in a plume covering the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, Sea of Japan and region downwind of Japan.

This summary is from http://saga.pmel.noaa.gov/Field/aceasia/ACEAsiaDescription.html