11 December 2001
A new study by NASA researchers at Scripps
Institution of Oceanography at the
University of California, San Diego, argues that tiny pollution
particles may be
playing a significant role in weakening Earth's water cycle -- much more
previously realized. The research is based on results obtained during
International Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), sponsored in part by the
National Science Foundation and NASA.
Aerosols comprised of black carbon, the authors
argue, can lead to a weaker
hydrological cycle, which directly impacts water availability and
"Initially we were seeing aerosols as
mainly a cooling agent, offsetting global
warming. Now we are saying that perhaps an even bigger impact of
aerosols is on
the water budget of the planet," said Scripps Professor V.
along with Professor Paul Crutzen, led the INDOEX science team.
"Through INDOEX we found that aerosols are
cutting down sunlight going into the
ocean," he explained. "The energy for the hydrological cycle
sunlight. As sunlight heats the ocean, water escapes into the atmosphere
falls out as rain. So as aerosols cut down sunlight by large amounts,
be spinning down the hydrological cycle of the planet."
They also may be suppressing rain over polluted
regions, according to the study.
Within clouds, aerosols can stifle the formation of larger droplets
The $25 million INDOEX project involved more
than 150 scientists from Austria,
France, Germany, India, Maldives, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United
employed a combination of satellites, aircraft, ships, and balloons to
the nature and magnitude of the chemical pollution over the tropical
"One of the key revelations from INDOEX is
that air pollution is not only an
industrial phenomenon," said Professor Crutzen, a 1995 Nobel
Laureate. "The part
of the atmosphere that you would expect to be the cleanest -- the areas
a lot of industrialization -- in fact can be highly polluted, especially
the dry season."
For more info, contact Mario Aguilera or Cindy
Clark at 858-534-3624.
16 December 2001
Pajamas based on space technology may help save the lives of babies,
to research conducted at the University of Brussels in Belgium. The
believe that the innovation could reduce mortality due to sudden infant
syndrome (SIDS) - the single largest killer of babies in developed
The prototype pajamas include five sensors that are built into the cloth
have no direct contact with the baby's skin, eliminating any discomfort.
sensors monitor the baby's breathing and heartbeat, and connect to a
that triggers an alarm if any abnormalities are detected.
The technology was developed in part by Verhaert, a European group that
designed suits to monitor the vital signs of European Space Agency
The developers have tested the garment in hospitals in Germany and
are seeking partners to turn the prototype into a commercial pajama