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Giant Toxic Cloud May Bring Flood and Droughts to Two Billion People
The Times Online (U.K.) ^ | August 3, 2007 | By Jeremy Page

Posted on 08/02/2007 6:54:22 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL

They call it the Asian Brown Cloud. Anyone who has flown over South Asia has seen it – a vast blanket of smog that covers much of the region.

It is also what colours those sunsets at the Taj Mahal. Now a group of scientists has carried out the first detailed study of the phenomenon and arrived at a troubling conclusion.

They say that it is causing Himalayan glaciers to melt, with potentially devastating consequences for more than two billion people in India, China, Bangladesh and other downstream countries.

In a study published yesterday by Nature, the British journal, they say that black soot particles in the cloud are absorbing the Sun’s heat and pushing up temperatures at the same altitude as most Himalayan glaciers.

Scientists have already observed that two thirds of the 46,000 glaciers in the Himalayas are shrinking, leading to increasingly severe floods downstream and, eventually, to widespread drought. Greenhouse gases were previously thought to be the main cause of the problem, which threatens the sources of Asia’s nine main rivers – including the Indus, the Ganges and the Yangtze.

But the research team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California says that the Asian Brown Cloud – made up of gases and suspended particles known as aerosols – is just as much to blame. “My one hope is that this finding will intensify the focus of Asian scientists and policy makers on the glacier issue,” Veerabhadran Ramanathan, who led the research, told The Times. “These glaciers are the source for major river systems, so at least two billion people are directly involved in this.”

The cloud is an enormous plume of smoke from factories, power plants and wood or dung fires that stretches across the Indian subcontinent, into SouthEast Asia.

Professor Ramanathan’s team examined it using three unmanned aircraft similar to those used by the US military, but fitted with fifteen instruments to measure temperature, humidity and aerosol levels. The drones were launched from the Maldives island of Hanimadhoo and carried out 18 missions over the Indian Ocean in March 2006, flying simultaneously through the cloud at different altitudes. They found that the cloud amplified the effects of solar heating on the surrounding air by 50 per cent.

The professor said that some aerosols in the cloud reflected sunlight, cooling the earth beneath in a process known as “global dimming” that is also worrying climate change experts.

Others absorbed heat radiation from the Sun because of their dark colour.

When he put his data into a computer model for climate change, it estimated that Himalayan temperatures had risen 0.25C (0.45F) a decade since 1950 – twice the average rate of global warming. “If we continue to use outdated technology to achieve industrialisation, this is only going to get worse,” said Professor Ramanathan. “But there is some good news.” Unlike greenhouse gases, which can stay in the atmosphere for 200 years, aerosols drop to the ground after two to three weeks.

Asian countries can therefore tackle the problem relatively quickly if they find alternatives to fuels such as coal, diesel, wood and dung, which account for the majority of aerosols in the air.

The United Nations Environment Programme, which supported the research, urged all governments to take similar steps since brown clouds have now been observed in Africa, America and the Middle East.

“The main cause of climate change is the build-up of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels,” said Achim Steiner, the United Nations under-secretary-general and the executive director of UNEP. “But brown clouds, whose environmental and economic impacts are beginning to be unravelled by scientists, are complicating and aggravating their effects.”


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agw; airpollution; china; climatechange; environment; globalwarming

1 posted on 08/02/2007 6:54:25 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Basic References:

Lawrence Solomon's "The Deniers" (a series of articles on the view of scientists who have been labelled "Global Warming Deniers"):

Other References:


2 posted on 08/02/2007 6:56:15 PM PDT by sourcery (fRed Dawn: Wednesday, 5 November 2008!)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I say we sign Kyoto and cripple the US economy. It’s the least we can do.


3 posted on 08/02/2007 6:56:20 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Progressives like to keep doing the things that didn't work in the past.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Basic References:

Lawrence Solomon's "The Deniers" (a series of articles on the view of scientists who have been labelled "Global Warming Deniers"):

Other References:


4 posted on 08/02/2007 6:56:26 PM PDT by sourcery (fRed Dawn: Wednesday, 5 November 2008!)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
cooling the earth beneath in a process known as “global dimming”

First I've heard of THIS!

I wonder if global dimming is the direct result of the Glorious March Of World Socialism?

5 posted on 08/02/2007 6:56:35 PM PDT by Old Sarge (This tagline in memory of FReeper 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub)
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To: JACKRUSSELL; OKSooner; honolulugal; Killing Time; Beowulf; Mr. Peabody; RW_Whacko; gruffwolf; ...

FReepmail me to get on or off


Click on POGW graphic for full GW rundown

New!!: Dr. John Ray's
GREENIE WATCH

Ping me if you find one I've missed.


AKA: Global Dumbing.
6 posted on 08/02/2007 6:58:05 PM PDT by xcamel ("It's Talk Thompson Time!" >> irc://irc.freenode.net/fredthompson)
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To: Admin Moderator

The double post in this case was not user error. I hit the post button exactly once, which resulted in an HTTP error page. So I then hit the refresh button, which updated the page, and revealed the double post.


7 posted on 08/02/2007 6:58:55 PM PDT by sourcery (fRed Dawn: Wednesday, 5 November 2008!)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Floods and droughts?

That's an all-purpose cloud.

8 posted on 08/02/2007 6:59:42 PM PDT by Nomorjer Kinov (If the opposite of "pro" is "con" , what is the opposite of progress?)
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To: sourcery

mark


9 posted on 08/02/2007 7:01:26 PM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (How do I change my screen name after Harper's election?)
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To: Nomorjer Kinov
Floods and droughts?

Floods and droughts, heating and cooling.

Gotta keep all the bases covered!

10 posted on 08/02/2007 7:02:51 PM PDT by Disambiguator
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To: Old Sarge

Gee, something new to fear, just when I had become somewhat adjusted to all the other tragedies befalling mankind. By the way, wouldn’t this cause a mini ice age, what with all the talk of Global Warming and all?


11 posted on 08/02/2007 7:03:00 PM PDT by doc1019 (Fred Thompson '08)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Brown clouds over Asia? I blame Bush!
12 posted on 08/02/2007 7:07:10 PM PDT by MAexile (Bats left, votes right)
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To: sourcery

Thank you sourcery...although I run the risk of acute catastrophic global mental obesity, I will chase as many of these down for scanning and selection for a project I am doing..thanks again for the promising bibliography..eom


13 posted on 08/02/2007 7:13:03 PM PDT by givemELL (New AlQaeda tactics)
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To: ClearCase_guy
I say we sign Kyoto and cripple the US economy. It’s the least we can do.

And give all those people a hybrid bicycle, along with a smoke-and transfat-free workplace.

14 posted on 08/02/2007 7:17:59 PM PDT by elkfersupper
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Bush's fault
15 posted on 08/02/2007 7:21:28 PM PDT by wastedyears (Freedom is the right of all sentient beings - Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
“The main cause of climate change is the build-up of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels,” said Achim Steiner, the United Nations under-secretary-general and the executive director of UNEP. “But brown clouds, whose environmental and economic impacts are beginning to be unravelled by scientists, are complicating and aggravating their effects.”

That's a serious pile of dung right there. "We don't really understand this brown cloud phenomenon, but we know that fossil fuel greenhouse gases are *much* more important, since we can more easily use control of them, to control people, which is what we are really after."

16 posted on 08/02/2007 7:30:11 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: doc1019

In contrast with the nonsensical “Global Warming” theory, which is far more religious-political than anything else, I’d describe this as a very real concern. You have a more or less unprescedented concentration of industry in a very small part of the world with very few controls spewing all sorts of noxious chemicals into the air.

Part of the problem is that:

1) The Boy Who Cried Wolf syndrome kicks in.
2) Nonsense about Global Warming distracts those inclined to worry about such things from actual problems.


17 posted on 08/02/2007 7:34:54 PM PDT by furquhart (Fred Thompson for President)
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To: All

Asian Brown Cloud

BWahahahaha,

Sounds like a good name for a really lame punk band.


18 posted on 08/02/2007 7:37:36 PM PDT by escapefromboston (manny ortez: mvp)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Scientists have already observed that two thirds of the 46,000 glaciers in the Himalayas are shrinking, leading to increasingly severe floods downstream and, eventually, to widespread drought.

They're probably shrinking for the same reason that most other glaciers have been shrinking (well, except for those all over the world that are growing): sublimation of the ice due to less cloud cover and precipitation. This is what is responsible for the shrinking of the glaciers in Africa. It started in 1880.
19 posted on 08/02/2007 7:47:34 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: JACKRUSSELL

I’ve got a solution! Let’s ship every last one of the enviro-wackos in America who are stopping everything that gets proposed to improve our infrastructure, from refineries to power plants to widened roads, over to South Asia where there is at least a tiny, slight chance that their obstruction might do a little good.


20 posted on 08/02/2007 7:50:29 PM PDT by Scott from the Left Coast
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To: Nomorjer Kinov

Add in frogs, boils, vermin, locust, blood, snakes, lions and lambs sleeping together, and you have “Old Testament” - (”Ghostbusters”) plus the “10 Plagues” which is recited at the Passover Dinner.

Gonna be an interesting show!


21 posted on 08/02/2007 8:11:34 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper (Madmax, the Grinning Reaper)
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To: Max Friedman

Yeah....and they are burning the forests to plant rows and rows of palm oil trees to satisfy the demand for “bio-renewable-fuel”


22 posted on 08/02/2007 8:16:16 PM PDT by spokeshave (Hey GOP...NO money till border closed and criminal illegals deported)
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To: JACKRUSSELL

If these alarmists were serious they’d be bugging China to quit putting 2 Coal fired plants on line every week and would have been advocating NUCLEAR POWER for the last 20 years.

But....what they really want is for industry and the population growth it aids, to dry up and blow away.


23 posted on 08/02/2007 8:20:38 PM PDT by G Larry (Only strict constructionists on the Supreme Court!)
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To: G Larry

Don’t forget that Mao started all this massive, countrywide air pollution when he told the people to make charcoal briquets in their little backyard furnaces (in the 1950’s). (Photos in Life Magazine).

I think that cloud is still circling the earth.


24 posted on 08/02/2007 8:30:32 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper (Madmax, the Grinning Reaper)
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To: Disambiguator
Floods and droughts, heating and cooling. Gotta keep all the bases covered!

Pretty soon, there will be issues with:

Eggplants
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Card Sharks
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Pool tables
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I-pods
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Chat lines
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And Hillary
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

25 posted on 08/02/2007 8:32:07 PM PDT by Cobra64 (www.BulletBras.net)
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To: Old Sarge

” cooling the earth beneath in a process known as “global dimming”
First I’ve heard of THIS!

I wonder if global dimming is the direct result of the Glorious March Of World Socialism? “

It sounds better to me than Global Dhimming.


26 posted on 08/02/2007 10:32:16 PM PDT by Humble Servant (Keep it simple - do what's right.)
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To: Nomorjer Kinov

” Floods and droughts?
That’s an all-purpose cloud. “

Yes, but it’s a dry rain.


27 posted on 08/02/2007 10:33:25 PM PDT by Humble Servant (Keep it simple - do what's right.)
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To: JACKRUSSELL
The professor said that some aerosols in the cloud reflected sunlight, cooling the earth beneath in a process known as “global dimming” that is also worrying climate change experts.

OH NO! Global Cooling!

Others absorbed heat radiation from the Sun because of their dark colour.

OH NO! Global Warming!


Where is Al Gore? Only He can help us...

GoreBull Warming

Click on the image to see the video


28 posted on 08/03/2007 4:37:57 AM PDT by Bon mots
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Szechwan flatulence...ia there anything it can't do?
29 posted on 08/03/2007 4:39:52 AM PDT by RichInOC (...the dog did it.)
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To: Humble Servant
” Floods and droughts?
That’s an all-purpose cloud. “

Yes, but it’s a dry rain.

No.
I think it's just a wet drought.

30 posted on 08/03/2007 4:43:15 AM PDT by Bon mots
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To: aruanan
Scientists have already observed that two thirds of the 46,000 glaciers in the Himalayas are shrinking, leading to increasingly severe floods downstream and, eventually, to widespread drought.

They're probably shrinking for the same reason that most other glaciers have been shrinking (well, except for those all over the world that are growing): sublimation of the ice due to less cloud cover and precipitation. This is what is responsible for the shrinking of the glaciers in Africa. It started in 1880.

Actually, it started with the end of the last "Ice-Age" nearly 12,000 years ago.

In fact, just before the Younger Dryas, the earth was warmer than it is today... yet it still managed to plunge into another ice age.

We are not in danger of warming the planet excessively, but of plunging into another ice-age.


The End of the last Ice Age

The Earth emerged from the ice age 14,000 years ago, and for a brief period1 of about 1,300 years, things actually went quite well. Forests began to grow back and magnificent creatures such as the Irish Elk and the Woolly Mammoth flourished in the rich temperate grasslands of Europe and North America. In fact, for a time, temperatures were even warmer than they are today.

The Younger Dryas

Then, around 12,700 years ago, the climate across North America, Europe and Western Asia suddenly reverted to bitterly freezing conditions. This period is known as the Younger Dryas. Icecaps reappeared over high ground and the sea levels dropped. The forests and grasslands died back, and the Irish Elk and Woolly Mammoth were driven towards final extinction. Human societies, still mainly accustomed to hunting and gathering for their sustenance, faced huge challenges as the fruits, cereals and animals on which they depended disappeared. Around this time, they adopted a new survival strategy that would enable them to live year-round, particularly during the long winter periods when absolutely no food was available. This was made possible through the intensive cultivation and nurturing of selected foodstuffs and animals close to home, an activity known today as farming. In this way, modern society was born.


31 posted on 08/03/2007 4:51:11 AM PDT by Bon mots
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To: JACKRUSSELL
The cloud is an enormous plume of smoke from factories, power plants and wood or dung fires that stretches across the Indian subcontinent, into SouthEast Asia.

Any yet, oddly, the UN didn't see fit to include China in the list of countries that should sign the Kyoto Agreement.

32 posted on 08/03/2007 8:55:49 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Bon mots
Actually, it started with the end of the last "Ice-Age" nearly 12,000 years ago.

But the current period of ablation of the African glaciers started in 1880.
The model they used, which specifically addresses the unique configuration of the summit's vertical ice walls, additionally provided, in their words, "a clear indication that solar radiation is the main climatic parameter governing and maintaining ice retreat on the mountain's summit plateau in the drier climate since ca. 1880."

33 posted on 08/03/2007 11:45:52 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: JACKRUSSELL
Asian countries can therefore tackle the problem relatively quickly if they find alternatives to fuels such as coal, diesel, wood and dung, which account for the majority of aerosols in the air.

How about clean coal, natural gas, oil, and butanol (similar to gasoline)?

34 posted on 08/04/2007 9:09:43 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Will I be suspended again for this remark?)
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