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May 8, 2018 - Science and innovations
FEFU researchers supported by IBM explore the effect of the aerosol particles on the planet's climate

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A group of researchers of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) with the support of IBM will conduct a comprehensive study of the impact of aerosol particles, including dust and other pollutants, on climate change. Using the resources of the international technology giant, FEFU staff will examine the smallest particles interaction with sunlight. The study will show how they affect the temperature of the atmosphere, and could this be the cause of global warming or cooling.

According to Eugene Zubko, the project manager, lead researcher in the FEFU School of Natural Sciences (SNS), the University researchers have spent several years in modeling light scattering micron-sized particles of cosmic dust and have gained significant experience in this area. In 2017, it was decided to take part in the competition for the use of resources the World Community Grid—IBM volunteer network—which provides an unprecedented opportunity for computer simulation. Research organizations from all over the world participated in the selection procedure and more than 70 applications reached the final. The Russian project by FEFU became one of three winners along with the research centers of the United States (Emory University) and the Netherlands (Delft University of Technology).

“According to UN experts, one of the most unexplored factors influencing climate change, are aerosol particles. They reflect sunlight towards the Earth and open space, thus reducing the flow of solar radiation. This leads to a cooling of surface and subsurface air,” explained Eugene Zubko. “However, by interacting with the aerosol particles, part of solar radiation is absorbed by the material particles that heats the atmosphere. And it is still not clear which is stronger. Of particular interest is the study of particles bigger than 5 microns, but this requires large computational power. Using our methods and IBM resources we will be able to answer the question.”