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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Expert on carbon aerosols' effect on climate to speak April 8

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Narragansett, R.I. -- April 1, 2004 -- Black carbon aerosols are grabbing the attention of atmospheric scientists because recent studies have shown that they can affect both short-term and long-term climate cycles.

As part of the Vetlesen Distinguished Lecturer Series, the URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) is pleased to present "The Dark Side of the Forcing: The Role of Black Carbon Aerosols in Climate," by Dr. Joyce Penner, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan. The lecture will take place on Thursday, April 8, at 1:30 p.m. in Corless Auditorium, URI Bay Campus, Narragansett.

Man-made aerosols have a cooling effect on climate, but soot and smoke, which contain black carbon, may reduce this effect by absorbing radiation that might otherwise be scattered back to space. Dr. Pennerís well-known research has focused on determining effects of pollutants from both biomass burning, the burning of the world's forests and grasslands and agricultural lands following the harvest for land clearing and land conversion, and fossil fuel burning on aerosols and clouds and the oxidation potential of the atmosphere. Her studies provided the first comprehensive calculation of the effects of smoke from biomass burning on climate forcing. With colleagues she also developed a method for incorporating effects of aerosols on clouds that allowed an evaluation of the indirect effects of aerosols on climate.

Dr. Penner received her Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Harvard University. She is the author or co-author of more than 100 publications in professional scientific journals. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, a member of numerous national and international science advisory committees, including the International Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution, the Biomass Burning Experiment Steering Committee as part of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (co-chair), and the Atmospheric Chemistry Gordon Conference (co-chair). She is an associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres and the Journal of Climate and has provided scientific briefings to the U.S. Senate and the United Nations.

Because the lecture is technical in nature, the audience for the Vetlesen Distinguished Lectures is the scientific community and the general public with an interest in and knowledge of science. The purpose of the talks is to bring experts in global climate change to the URI Graduate School of Oceanography to enhance understanding of this complex scientific and social issue. The lecture is free and open to the public.