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Air pollution and the ocean

Penn State researchers Raymond Najjar (2nd from left) and Douglas Martins (4th from left) retrieve a drifter from the Atlantic Ocean with the help of the  ship’s crew. Image: Bettina Sohst/Old Dominion University.Study measures impacts of nitrogen deposition on coastal waters

By Douglas Martins October 6, 2014

Scientists have a good understanding of how air pollution impacts human health and the terrestrial biosphere, but what impact does air pollution have on oceans? To help answer this question, this past August, researchers from Penn State's department of meteorology embarked on a three-week, NSF-funded field project to catch and analyze rainwater at sea.

"The atmospheric deposition of nitrogen to coastal waters is one of many ways in which humans influence the ocean," says Raymond Najjar, professor of meteorology, and a principal investigator on the project. "This study is important because it is the first to directly measure the impact of nitrogen deposition on the productivity of coastal waters."

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Interdisciplinary team aims to predict the future of Antarctic ice

Earth's Antarctic Ice Sheet.UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The National Science Foundation's Division of Mathematical Sciences has awarded more than $500,000 to Penn State to develop new statistical methods needed for predicting the future of Antarctic ice sheets, which now are melting at an alarming rate. Using information gleaned from geologic data from the past 20,000 years, the scientists also will apply their new methods to provide a better understanding of the past and current behavior of the ice sheets.

"This funding will allow us to work on fascinating, challenging and important scientific problems while developing cutting-edge statistics methods that could give vulnerable populations more time to prepare for some of the effects of our rapidly changing climate," said Murali Haran, an associate professor of statistics at Penn State. Haran is the principal investigator on the project. The interdisciplinary research team spans two colleges at Penn State and includes scientists in the Department of Statistics, the Department of Meteorology, and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. (October 1, 2014)

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