Particulate Pollution Shown to Warm Atmosphere As It Cools Earth's Surface
Climate Crisis Coalition Newsfeed
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Particulate Pollution Shown to Warm Atmosphere As It Cools Earth's Surface.
BBC News, August 1, 2007.
"Clouds of pollution over the Indian Ocean appear to cause as much
warming as greenhouse gases released by human activity, a study has
suggested. U.S. researchers used unmanned aircraft to measure the
effects of the 'brown clouds' on the surrounding area. Writing in
Nature [Magazine], they said the tiny particles increased the solar
heating of the lower atmosphere by about 50%. The warming could be
enough to explain the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas, the
scientists proposed. The clouds contain a mixture of light absorbing
aerosols and light scattering aerosols, which cause the atmosphere to
warm and the surface of the Earth to cool. The main sources of the
pollutants came from wood burning and fossil fuels, the team added.
Aerosols, also known as particulates, cool the land or sea below
because they filter out light from the Sun. While this process, known
as 'global dimming', is fairly well understood, the effect aerosols
have on the surrounding atmosphere is still unclear."