Floating air particles following hazards and other largescale geological events can have a long-lasting impact on life on Earth. Volcanic ash could be projected as much as the stratosphere and halt air traffic by lingering in the environment for months. Particles from industrial accidents have the potential to travel full hemispheres before falling to the ground. A new model drawing on chaos theory, and revealed in this week’s Chaos, from AIP Publishing, appears to assist predict how particles move in such events with an eye toward potential applications for geoengineering to combat climate change. Using available wind data, researcher Tímea Haszpra developed a model for following air particles as they travel around the globe.
Atmospheric particle motion exhibits fractal-like behavior, and when data is specially filtered, an object that governs chaotic particle motion and is called a chaotic saddle might be found. The paths of every simulated particle show properties which are transiently brought together by the changes in the flow of the environment, akin to sitting on the saddle, before falling off the seat and, consequently, falling to Earth.
Generally, she discovered that particles coming from the world across the equator remain in the atmosphere for the longest time, and particles smaller than one micron may keep in the environment for years earlier than falling.
The average lifetime of a particle in the air is about one month. However, they also found that particles in a single area of a map might be in the air up to 10 times so long as particles close by on the map how these lifetimes had been distributed across the globe various relying on the season.
Haszpra believes her findings can inform future efforts which have been advised to make use of sun-reflecting air particles to counteract climate change. She plans to increase this work by incorporating historical meteorological data, and climate models to raised perceive how the dispersion of particles would possibly change when the climate changes.