Ammonia-rich bird poop may be playing an important role in cooling the Arctic during its warmer months, reveals study published in Nature Communications.
According to a new research from Colorado State University, atmospheric scientists, who are working to better understand key components of Arctic climate systems, suggested that Ammonia-rich bird poop cools the atmosphere. The associate Professor of Atmospheric Science Jeff Pierce and graduate student Jack Kodros present evidence linking ammonia emissions from summertime Arctic seabird-colony excrement, called guano, to newly formed atmospheric aerosol particles. These particles can in turn influence Arctic cloud properties and their effects on climate. Clouds play a key role in modulating Arctic temperature; thus, understanding factors that influence clouds is essential, Pierce says.
‘Ammonia-enriched bird poop could provide a solution to climate change.’
Central to the development of clouds is the availability of cloud condensation nuclei - small atmospheric particles around which water can condense. Using a combination of observations and computer modeling, Pierce, Kodros and co-authors at Dalhousie University, University of Toronto, and Environment and Climate Change Canada determined that migratory-seabird colonies have a definitive influence on atmospheric particles and clouds in the pristine summertime Arctic. They report the presence of summertime bursts of atmospheric particles linked to ammonia emissions from seabird-colony guano.
These particles can spread throughout the Arctic, fostering cloud-droplet formation, and in turn reflect sunlight back to space for a net cooling effect. "This newly identified and fascinating ecological-atmospheric connection highlights the interconnectedness of the many components of Earth's climate system," Pierce said.