Publications by authors named "Richard A Vancuren"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

End of the Little Ice Age in the Alps forced by industrial black carbon.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013 Sep 3;110(38):15216-21. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109.

Glaciers in the European Alps began to retreat abruptly from their mid-19th century maximum, marking what appeared to be the end of the Little Ice Age. Alpine temperature and precipitation records suggest that glaciers should instead have continued to grow until circa 1910. Radiative forcing by increasing deposition of industrial black carbon to snow may represent the driver of the abrupt glacier retreats in the Alps that began in the mid-19th century. Ice cores indicate that black carbon concentrations increased abruptly in the mid-19th century and largely continued to increase into the 20th century, consistent with known increases in black carbon emissions from the industrialization of Western Europe. Inferred annual surface radiative forcings increased stepwise to 13-17 W⋅m(-2) between 1850 and 1880, and to 9-22 W⋅m(-2) in the early 1900s, with snowmelt season (April/May/June) forcings reaching greater than 35 W⋅m(-2) by the early 1900s. These snowmelt season radiative forcings would have resulted in additional annual snow melting of as much as 0.9 m water equivalent across the melt season. Simulations of glacier mass balances with radiative forcing-equivalent changes in atmospheric temperatures result in conservative estimates of accumulating negative mass balances of magnitude -15 m water equivalent by 1900 and -30 m water equivalent by 1930, magnitudes and timing consistent with the observed retreat. These results suggest a possible physical explanation for the abrupt retreat of glaciers in the Alps in the mid-19th century that is consistent with existing temperature and precipitation records and reconstructions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1302570110DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780880PMC
September 2013

Pb isotopes as an indicator of the Asian contribution to particulate air pollution in urban California.

Environ Sci Technol 2010 Dec 29;44(23):8911-6. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

During the last two decades, expanding industrial activity in east Asia has led to increased production of airborne pollutants that can be transported to North America. Previous efforts to detect this trans-Pacific pollution have relied upon remote sensing and remote sample locations. We tested whether Pb isotope ratios in airborne particles can be used to directly evaluate the Asian contribution to airborne particles of anthropogenic origin in western North America, using a time series of samples from a pair of sites upwind and downwind of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our results for airborne Pb at these sites indicate a median value of 29% Asian origin, based on mixing relations between distinct regional sample groups. This trans-Pacific Pb is present in small quantities but serves as a tracer for airborne particles within the growing Asian industrial plume. We then applied this analysis to archived samples from urban sites in central California. Taken together, our results suggest that the analysis of Pb isotopes can reveal the distribution of airborne particles affected by Asian industrial pollution at urban sites in northern California. Under suitable circumstances, this analysis can improve understanding of the global transport of pollution, independent of transport models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es101450tDOI Listing
December 2010