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Uncovering the complex relationship between the forest and the atmosphere

May 27, 2009
This month, Nature profiles atmospheric chemist Allen Goldstein, (link - Nature subscription required | PDF - open access) who specializes in interpreting the scents of the forest. Goldstein has built his career on finding and characterizing some of the more elusive airborne chemicals in nature. For 10 years at the Blodgett Forest Research Station his team has described more than a dozen plant-released compounds that no one had previously measured or, in some cases, even known existed in the atmosphere.

The article expands upon themes we covered in the Fall 2007 issue of Breakthroughs magazine.

Goldstein also made a bit of a stir recently when his team found that the southeastern U.S. seems to be getting cooler while the rest of the globe is warming. The researchers used satellite and ground sensor data to track air pollution, and found that cooling induced by atmospheric haze has outpaced the warming due to rising carbon dioxide levels in that region.