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For Release: August 11, 1995

Catherine E. Watson
(804) 864-6122

Release No. 95-081

Scientists Join Forces to Study Atmospheric Effects of Smoke and Clouds

Over 80 researchers from the U.S. and Brazil will participate in a five week study to determine how smoke from grassland and forest fires affects clouds and the Earth's radiation budget. The experiment, called SCAR-B (Smoke, Clouds, and Radiation - Brazil), will take place in central Brazil from Aug. 16 - Sept. 22.

Small particles within smoke, called aerosols, can affect the amount of energy reaching the Earth's surface by reflecting and/or absorbing sunlight. Smoke aerosols can also affect clouds by acting as small particles upon which clouds can form. Clouds formed from smoke aerosols are believed to reflect and absorb energy in different ways than clouds formed from natural particles such as dust or sea salt.

The SCAR-B experiment, managed by NASA Langley Research Center, is an outgrowth of several previous field experiments which have taken place around the world. SCAR-B is the third SCAR experiment. The first, SCAR-A (Atlantic), studied the effects of pollution aerosols on clouds and the Earth's radiation budget off the coast of the eastern U.S. in 1993. The second experiment, SCAR-C (California), was conducted in 1994 to study the atmospheric effects of smoke aerosols from wild and prescribed fires in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

The joint U.S./Brazilian SCAR-B experiment will involve coordinated aircraft, surface, and satellite measurements. The SCAR-B science team has members from 4 NASA centers, 2 U.S. agencies, 5 U.S. universities, 12 Brazilian agencies and 6 Brazilian universities. The three instrumented aircraft include a C-131A from the University of Washington, the NASA ER-2, and a Bandeirante from the Brazilian Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), of the Brazilian space agency.

Telephone interviews with the SCAR-B project manager, photos of the ER-2, and B-roll video of the ER-2, savannas burning, and an interview with the project manager, are available. For more information please contact Catherine Watson at the NASA Langley Office of Public Affairs: (804) 864-6122.

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