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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642

Lecture explores how dust (and other stuff)
in the atmosphere affects climate

Narragansett, RI -- October 17, 2002 -- Did you know that the dust particles that make you sneeze may come from such exotic and far away places as the Sahara Dessert? And while you may know that the spray from aerosol cans is helping to destroy the ozone layer, do you know why?

Dr. John Merrill, professor of atmospheric chemistry, will present a free public lecture on Studying the Effects of Dust, Smoke, and Haze on Climate. Sponsored by Friends of Oceanography, the lecture will take place in the Coastal Institute Auditorium on the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at noon.

Aerosols, particles and droplets suspended in the air, have always been an important part of the climate system because they can scatter and absorb sunlight (cooling the surface and heating the atmosphere, respectively). They are also important in oceanography because materials from the continents, both natural and pollution-derived, are carried further offshore by the wind than by rivers flowing in to the sea, and their impacts on ocean chemistry can be profound.

In this talk Merrill will present an overview of the effects of aerosols on atmospheric and ocean chemistry and climate and the implications for what we know about global warming, emphasizing recent research work, both at GSO and at other institutions.

A resident of North Kingstown, Merrill received an M.S. in physics from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Much of his research has been on the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere, particularly long range transport. He is currently conducting meteorological analysis and modeling that involve making estimates of the flux of natural stratospheric ozone into the troposphere and quantifying the impact of aerosols (primarily mineral dust, but including direct forcing by pollution) on the radiative budget over ocean areas.

Established in 1985 to support and promote the activities of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Friends of Oceanography informs and educates the membership and the general public about the scientific, technological, and environmental research that takes place at GSO. The organization sponsors public lectures, open houses, marine-related mini-courses, science cruises on Narragansett Bay, and an annual auction. The Friends office is located in the Coastal Institute building on URI's Narragansett Bay Campus.

For information about Friends of Oceanography, call 874-6642.

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