San Diego Scientists Make Waves In Climate Research
Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego researchers are literally making waves as they work to understand the ocean's role in the planet's climate as part of the KPBS climate change desk environment. Reporter Eric Anderson says the ocean modulates climate, but pollution and microbes affect how the system works. Speaker 2: 00:18 Scripps Institution of oceanography researchers are looking at climate change and they're doing it inside this lab. Speaker 3: 00:23 Let me show you Speaker 2: 00:26 this. Long glass shoot, uh, allows researchers to bring the ocean into the lab by replicating waves, which out in the environment influenced the atmosphere and the planet's climate. Speaker 3: 00:37 Yeah, so this is a paddle that we have been using to generate the wave. Speaker 2: 00:43 Christopher Lee is the managing director of the scripts based Center for Aerosol impacts on chemistry of the environment. Machine he's standing beside is pushing ocean water down a long, narrow channel. That action creates a steady flow of waves, which roll toward a manufactured incline. The incline and artificial beach forces the waves to break and crash pushing particles and gases into the air. Speaker 3: 01:09 That instrument, just the cross on the other side of the channel. That's your instrument from Colorado State University. They're investigating the ice nucleating property of ceasefire cells basically meaning how sees Ursel being emitted and their sampling from right here are forming ice nucleus which have a kind of property impact as well. Speaker 2: 01:30 Lisa says ice nucleuses are rare, but when they do get created they tend to encourage rainfall. Understanding them could help researchers better understand whether all kinds of scientific instruments are clustered near the way break the research teams are working to understand as much as possible about what's happening in that Waterfield shoot. Speaker 3: 01:52 We have continuous measurements of the temperature, dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, and of course chlorophyll was kind of monitors the bio mass of these phytoplankton blooms that we are inducing here in this channel. Speaker 2: 02:06 Adding microbes to the mix is a major change from the first run of experiments which wrapped up last summer. That project aimed to isolate and measure just sea spray and particles. This run will allow atmospheric chemistry can pray there to account for many more influences including how'd you Bloom's pollution and weather. Speaker 3: 02:27 We're building another channel which will be here in about a year. That will have wins Speaker 2: 02:32 great there. Who's guiding the research at the facility is explaining to a group of high school students why this project has such far reaching implications. She says the ocean has some of the most significant impacts on the global climate and researchers just don't understand exactly what's going on. Speaker 1: 02:48 The largest uncertainty in all climate change is the interaction between that spray and the particles and how they form clouds. That's the thing. We understand the least in the climate. Speaker 2: 02:59 The wave machine allows researchers to figure out processes that they would otherwise have no way to understand. Pray through says that broadens the reach and the impact of the work. Speaker 1: 03:09 We would just understand how the ocean as a whole influences the chemistry of our atmosphere. It's controlling that chemistry. It's interacting through reactions that some people have never even studied. We're looking at sort of how humans and Mother Nature, just the chemical reactions are completely changing. It's over the oceans over three quarters of the surface of the earth. Speaker 2: 03:28 The knowledge gained over the next five years could help improve computer models that predict the planet's climate. Most climate models currently don't account for the ocean's influence and sharing that scientific pursuit with high school students, plants the seeds for the future. Speaker 1: 03:46 It's, this is not research that's in any textbook that they read, right? And so they can come see what scientists get to do. They can come see the passion of the people that are working in that room trying to solve these problems. Speaker 2: 03:56 Ella Niamh was part of the science camp, touring the lab. She says, the science being worked on here is an important baseline to document a changing climate. Speaker 4: 04:05 It's not something that people are making up. And with science, it's helpful to try to find solutions for this problem that's continuously causing this planet, obviously to warm. And it's going to be affecting my generation as well as the rest of us for the rest of our lives. Speaker 2: 04:23 Niamh says the push for understanding is encouraging. Eric Anderson KPBS news. Speaker 5: 04:32 Uh.