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Published: 23 March 2017  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnvironmentClimate & global change
Research policySeventh Framework Programme
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Bulgaria  |  Cyprus  |  Finland  |  France  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Ireland  |  Israel  |  Italy  |  Norway  |  Sweden  |  Switzerland  |  United Kingdom
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Clearing the fog: an end to clouded climate predictions

Limited understanding of the role of aerosols in our climate system means a lack of policies addressing them. The EU-funded BACCHUS project aims to expand understanding of how clouds are affected, providing the knowledge for improved climate models and projections, and - eventually - more effective policies for sustainability and climate change mitigation.

Image of planet Earth 360°

© Photobank - fotolia.com

The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identified the role of aerosols in our climate system as a key area for further research in the fight against climate change. In response, the EU set up a research cluster entitled ‘Aerosols and Climate’ comprising three projects, each investigating the impact of aerosols on different elements of the atmosphere.

BACCHUS is one of these projects, and focuses on aerosol interactions with clouds in a bid to increase understanding the impact of aerosols on clouds and climate. The results could lead to improved climate projections.

Aerosols are small particles or droplets suspended in the air. They have the ability to cool the planet by reflecting sunlight back to space, but can also warm the planet by absorbing and emitting thermal radiation, much like greenhouse gases. Aerosols can emanate from both natural (e.g. sea spray) and man-made (e.g. soot emissions) sources and can significantly affect the properties of clouds.

BACCHUS is developing a database of long-term observations, field and laboratory data on the physical and chemical properties of aerosol particles. The project consortium will use this data to decipher the processes associated with aerosol-cloud interaction and use them to validate and improve the description of aerosols and clouds in climate and earth system models. This understanding is currently missing from earth system models.

The project team will also use the data collected to identify key processes controlling cloud systems in different environments (the Arctic, the Amazon rainforest), enabling researchers to determine the relative role of natural versus human-based aerosol emissions.

The project results will feed into further IPCC reports, and should encourage politicians to develop more effective and appropriate strategies and policies for climate change mitigation.

Project details

  • Project acronym: BACCHUS
  • Participants: Switzerland (Coordinator), Finland, Germany, UK, Norway, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria, Israel, France, Cyprus, Sweden
  • Project N°: 603445
  • Total costs: € 11 463 091
  • EU contribution: € 8 746 587
  • Duration: December 2013 - May 2018

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Countries
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  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia