Silly Waste: UCSD gets $20 million from taxpayers to study effects of seaspray on human health, climate

UTSanDiego announced:

A five-year, $20 million grant announced Monday will allow a locally led team of scientists to study how the surprisingly complex compounds in sea spray affect rainfall, climate and human health.

The National Science Foundation is awarding the money to the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment, which is based at the University of California San Diego.

While aerosols are best known as the contents of spray cans, they also include dust, soot, pollution and sea spray, said Kimberly Prather, director of the center and a professor of atmospheric chemistry at the university.

“They’re very visual,” she said. “You can see their evidence in red sunsets, tailpipes and gobs of them coming from wildfires. The natural ones are from the ocean.”

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10 responses to “Silly Waste: UCSD gets $20 million from taxpayers to study effects of seaspray on human health, climate

  1. There are natural aerosols from a lot of sources, human and otherwise. They are an important component of the atmosphere and may well have local effects. I’d say this one makes sense.

  2. This is aimed at understanding clouds better (or should be) which is critical to some day being able to make decent predictions about climate.

  3. It is interesting that after tens of thousands of years of continuous human habitation along seashores without any notable deleterious effects from exposure to the ‘sea air’, they still find it necessary ‘to study how the surprisingly complex compounds in sea spray affect rainfall, climate and human health.’
    I cannot think of a single disease peculiar to the people so exposed that it was named for the locale – in the manner of ‘swamp fever’ or ‘mountain sickness’.
    People still gather at the beach in sunny or cloudy weather to make themselves ‘feel better.’

    • it does have an effect. You live close to shore or on the water a long time and you start telling long salty stories about the sea. I believe it could be a form of brain damage :P

      • and I was out a fishin’ when I came upon a strange isle – I was sure tah hav’ not seen it in a fore times but it was a low tide and then I spied it – twas a Selkie – the mos’ beautiful lass these eyes ha’ e’ er has the pleasure o seein’ It ain’t often ya sees a Selkie out of her skin but there she were a sunbathin’ on the rocks – wi’ marry a care in th’ world …

  4. I’ll agree that the weather effects of this research seem legit. The health effects are also reasonable because the EPA has begun regulating particulates emissions from cooling towers. Sea Spray is more of the same, and in far greater quanitites, so if you can prove no effects, then Cooling Tower PM emissions are not worth controlling.

  5. How about giving me a $5M grant. I’ll buy a sailboat and sail the Caribbean for the next 20 years and journal my experiences with “salt spray”.

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