Research Report: Study may help in studying atmosphere

Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach.

By Lynne Friedmann

The discovery of a new chemical reaction on tiny particulates in the atmosphere could yield a new tool for scientists attempting to gain a glimpse from ancient rocks of what Martian and Earth’s atmospheres were like hundreds of millions years ago.

The discovery, by chemists at UCSD, also provides an explanation for unusual carbonate inclusions found in a meteorite from Mars that was once thought to be evidence of ancient Martian life. Observation of similar anomalies on terrestrial carbonates ultimately led to the discovery of a chemical reaction that occurs in a tiny layer on the outside of particulate matter and is driven by the ozone in the atmosphere mixing with water and carbon dioxide.

Current models of atmospheric processes assume that the mixing of large volumes of gases drives the chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere. UCSD chemists think this new discovery may force a rethinking of this idea, particularly as the Earth’s atmosphere becomes warmer and more dusty, providing more opportunities for this sort of chemistry to take place on aerosol particulate matter.

The finding is detailed in the Journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. News release at

About biological rhythms

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified a novel mechanism that regulates circadian rhythm, the “master clock” that controls the body’s 24-hour physiological cycle.

Previous research in the field has established certain nuclear receptors regulate expression of a gene vital to virtually every aspect of human physiology and the circadian clock. Nuclear receptors are proteins that recognize and regulate hormones as well as other molecules.

The TSRI study advances understanding of the relationship between these receptors and their gene targets; knowledge that could potentially provide a new target for alleviating jet lag, shift work, and sleep disturbances as well as combat disorders that result from circadian rhythm disruption, such as diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancer.

The study appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.  News release at

Monitoring the Gulf of Mexico

Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) owns and operates an extensive array of surface current-mapping, high frequency radars used to map ocean surface currents. Remote sensing technology is normally shore-based, with installations along cliffs and near shorelines in coastal regions. Now, SIO has deployed surface-mapping radar on a BP-operated oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The system provides radial maps of ocean currents to distances of 80 kilometers (50 miles) on resolutions of 2 to 3 kilometers (1.2 to 1.9 miles). An objective of radar data gathering is to identify and map in near real-time the loop current and eddies in the Gulf as well as to develop statistical models of ocean circulation.

In light of recent environmental events in the Gulf of Mexico, the expansion of shore-based technologies to offshore waters, on this and other oil rigs, will play a role in ocean stewardship. News release at

Related posts:

  1. RESEARCH REPORT: Project engineers preservation of cultural treasures
  2. Research Report: Longevity means getting just enough sleep
  3. Scipps Institution scientists honored
  4. RESEARCH REPORT: Brain-cell death cause revealed
  5. Scripps Institution of Oceanography team's project assisting with Gulf monitoring

Short URL:

Posted by Phil Dailey on Nov 17, 2010. Filed under Columns, Health & Science, Research Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Solana Beach water district moving to mandatory water use restrictions August 22, 2014
    Customers of the Santa Fe Irrigation District — including residents of Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach and part of Fairbanks Ranch — will face mandatory restrictions on water use starting Sept. 5, in an effort to save water due to an ongoing statewide drought. The restrictions include a three-day-per-week watering schedule for all homes and businesses, a prohi […]
  • West Coast FC Classic Champs August 22, 2014
    Congratulations to Coach Beto Villela and the San Diego Surf BU11 Academy (Villela) team. The boys won the West Coast FC Classic Tournament last weekend, held in Mission Viejo. […]
  • Surf GU9 team takes first place in Orange County Kickoff classic August 22, 2014
    The Surf Soccer Club Academy GU9 team took first place in the 2014 Orange County Kickoff Classic (Girls U9 flight 1) on Aug. 16-17. […]