Asia’s pollution hits global climate harder than previously realized, study finds

Wed, 2007-03-07 10:38Bill Miller
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Asia’s pollution hits global climate harder than previously realized, study finds

Researchers, writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , said clean-air legislation has reduced production of industrial aerosols – fine particles of dust, soot and sulphur - in Europe and North America. The opposite trend is seen in Asia, however, where industrialization has led to formation of a pollution haze.

This is especially marked in winter as coal burning increases; sulphur emissions have increased by more than one-third over the last decade.

These aerosols drive cloud formation, as water droplets coalesce around the tiny particles. Cloud coverage for the period 1994-2005 was between 20% and 50% higher than in the preceding decade, bringing growth in storminess - the “storm track” - over the ocean.

Studies suggest accumulation of these particles is changing the properties of Arctic ice, making it absorb more of the Sun's energy. Thus the ice is more prone to melting, and Earth's capacity to reflect solar energy back into space is reduced.

Comments

Bill, I thought CO2 was responsible for the storms that knocked down those trees in Stanley Park last December. Now you say it may be soot from China? Careful, Desmog. Opening the door to possible influences on weather and climate other than man-made CO2 could lead you into dangerous territory where deniers and unbelievers lurk.

Grow up, John.

I thought it was very grown up thing to do. I mean Bill was getting a bit off the Desmog message there, suggesting that something like soot might be affecting climate when eveyrone knows it is CO2 and only CO2 pumped out by selfish SUV drivers.

That’s BS and you know it.

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Disruption

This is a guest post by Zach Roberts.

As a documentary producer, I watch more than my fair share of environmental protest documentaries — probably about 20 a year. And almost all of them have the same, vague message: we need to do something!

Their scenes re-play like a bad video montage in my mind: earnest young people speaking at podiums, boring climatologists rambling on about the coming end of the world, forest fires, melting ice shelves, you know how it goes. In the lefty journalism world, we call this “preaching to the choir.”

Then there's Disruption,...

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