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Stratospheric Pollution Helps Slow Global Warming (Good news: aerosol sprays are saving us)
Scientific American ^ | July 22, 2011 | David Biello

Posted on 07/22/2011 1:46:03 PM PDT by presidio9

Despite significant pyrotechnics and air travel disruption last year, the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull simply didn't put that many aerosols into the stratosphere. In contrast, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, put 10 cubic kilometers of ash, gas and other materials into the sky, and cooled the planet for a year. Now, research suggests that for the past decade, such stratospheric aerosols—injected into the atmosphere by either recent volcanic eruptions or human activities such as coal burning—are slowing down global warming.

"Aerosols acted to keep warming from being as big as it would have been," says atmospheric scientist John Daniel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory, who helped lead the research published online in Science on July 21. "It's still warming, it's just not warming as much as it would have been."

Essentially, sulfur dioxide gets emitted near the surface, either by a coal-fired power plant's smokestack or a volcano. If that SO2 makes it to the stratosphere—the middle layer of the atmosphere 10 kilometers up—it forms droplets of diluted sulfuric acid, known as aerosols. These aerosols reflect sunlight away from the planet, shading the surface and cooling temperatures. And some can persist for a few years, prolonging that cooling.

By analyzing satellite data and other measures, Daniel and his colleagues found that such aerosols have been on the rise in Earth's atmosphere in the past decade, nearly doubling in concentration. That concentration has reflected roughly 0.1 watts per meter squared of sunlight away from the planet, enough to offset roughly one-third of the 0.28 watts per meter squared of extra heat trapped by rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The researchers calculate that the aerosols prevented 0.07 degrees Celsius of warming in average temperatures since 2000.

The question is: why the increase in such aerosols? There have been plenty of smaller volcanic eruptions in recent years, such as the continuously erupting Soufriere Hills on Montserrat and Tavurvur on Papua New Guinea, which may have exploded enough SO2 into the atmosphere. And there has been plenty of coal burning in countries such as China, which now burns some 3 billion metric tons of the fuel rock per year, largely without the pollution controls that would scrub out the SO2, as is sometimes done in the U.S. In fact, a computer model study published July 5 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that such SO2 pollution in China has cancelled out the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations globally since 1998. Determining whether humans or volcanoes explain more of the increase in stratospheric aerosols is the focus of ongoing research, says PhD candidate Ryan Neely of the University of Colorado, who contributed to the NOAA research.

Combined with a decrease in atmospheric water vapor and a weaker sun due to the most recent solar cycle, the aerosol finding may explain why climate change has not been accelerating as fast as it did in the 1990s. The effect also illustrates one proposal for so-called geoengineering—the deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment—that would use various means to create such sulfuric acid aerosols in the stratosphere to reflect sunlight and thereby hopefully forestall catastrophic climate change.

But that points up another potential problem: if aerosol levels, whether natural or human-made, decline in the future, climate change could accelerate—and China is adding scrubbing technology to its coal-fired power plants to reduce SO2 emissions and thereby minimize acid rain. In effect, fixing acid rain could end up exacerbating global warming. China "could cause some decreases [in stratospheric aerosols] if that is the source," Neely says, adding that growing SO2 emissions from India could also increase cooling if humans are the dominant cause of injecting aerosols into the atmosphere. On the other hand, "if some volcanoes that are large enough go off and if they are the dominant cause [of increasing aerosols], then we will probably see some increases" in cooling.

.


TOPICS: Extended News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: aerosols; climatechange; globalwarming; globalwarmingtheory; itsforthepolarbears; junkscience
Obligatory "Global Warming" thread for today's record temperatures. This one smells like backpedaling to me to account for the fact that Florida STILL isn't underwater yet.
1 posted on 07/22/2011 1:46:11 PM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9
"...activities such as coal burning—are slowing down global warming."

Pass that tidbit on to the liberal world.

2 posted on 07/22/2011 1:51:07 PM PDT by avacado
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To: presidio9

This is total BS, now they will be yelling Global Cooling and resell their communist tax and spend plans...


3 posted on 07/22/2011 1:53:04 PM PDT by stockpirate (Republicans that vote for socialism, support socialists are socialists.)
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To: presidio9
It seems that every cloud has a dirty, sulphurous lining — and that's a good thing.
4 posted on 07/22/2011 1:55:00 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: presidio9

And it took them how long to admit that particles cool the atmosphere?


5 posted on 07/22/2011 1:55:33 PM PDT by Morpheus2009
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To: presidio9

When Nabro volcano in Eritrea erupted, it put out ‘record amounts of SO2’ according to the satellite monitoring that stuff.


6 posted on 07/22/2011 1:58:24 PM PDT by Darksheare (You will never defeat Bok Choy!)
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To: presidio9

in the 80’s and 90’s, the Sun was the most active it had been, for 1000 years. the Earth warmed.

now, the Sun has the lowest magnetic flux readings, etc., since we first took measurements. Sunspots are way down.
and satellite readings show the Earth has been getting colder since 2003.

it’s not CO2, aerosols, etc. it’s the SUN.
but, they can’t admit it. so the greenies will look for ANY man-made cause, for warming OR cooling, instead.


7 posted on 07/22/2011 1:59:38 PM PDT by Elendur (the hope and change i need: Sarah / Colonel West in 2012)
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To: Elendur

thx for posting that info I had seen it somewhere recently.......

Now they will say global cooling....


8 posted on 07/22/2011 2:02:01 PM PDT by stockpirate (Republicans that vote for socialism, support socialists are socialists.)
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To: stockpirate
When his pollution stuff started in the 1970’s their was a professor at some university said cleaning up the air was good to a point ...if the air is to clean you get less rain...something about the rain drop has to form around a particle...Back than they had really dirt air like China has now..
9 posted on 07/22/2011 2:08:28 PM PDT by Hojczyk
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To: presidio9

What a bunch of double-talk. Nice try.

The odd thing is that it turns out that burning coal is a good idea.
Maybe we should all have coal burning cars to save the planet?


10 posted on 07/22/2011 2:10:38 PM PDT by PATRIOT1876 (The only crimes that are 100% preventable are crimes committed by illegal aliens)
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To: presidio9

False Flag.

Man-made global warming is false. CO2 cannot be the cause.

Instead of admitting they were caught lying about it, the new age mathematicians now say aerosols are masking the effect. Thus, conveniently, CO2 is still the problem but aerosol pollution (also “evil”) is simply hiding the truth.

Now man is to blame whether we get cooling or warming and the ONLY solution is to de-industrialize and give all our money over to a central authority: It’s for the Children, baby seals and the dignified, lacrimose polar bears!!


11 posted on 07/22/2011 2:15:06 PM PDT by Melinator (Wholly Crap!)
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To: presidio9

In no particular order, it I always thought that to establish cause and effect, one might:

1. Gather data (oops, the GB idiots blew this one)
2. Analyze the data (another blow job)
3. Construct a theory that melds data with that theory (another blow job)
4. Use the theory to predict (need I comment on their success here?)

Folks, we’re talkin’ a group of people so very childlike in their use of mathematics and analysis that they qualify to serve on the Democratic National Committee and the MSM.

Oops, never mind.....they’re already there......


12 posted on 07/22/2011 2:15:36 PM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Da Coyote
Obama’s Hope & Change does have a silver lining. So many companies have gone out of business or reduced their demand on electricity the power companies have lots of excess capacity to deal with any heat wave....
13 posted on 07/22/2011 2:20:43 PM PDT by Average Al
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To: steelyourfaith

ping


14 posted on 07/22/2011 2:20:51 PM PDT by presidio9 (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: Elendur
*it’s not CO2, aerosols, etc. it’s the SUN.*

A three year old will give you a more accurate and scientific answer about what is causing global warming that the Mortimer Snerdesque Gore, the grant-fed consensus “scientists”, or the carbon credit profiteers.

“Hey, kid, What causes it to be warm outside?”

“The Sun.”

Give the kid a million dollar grant for truth and accuracy.

15 posted on 07/22/2011 2:30:39 PM PDT by PATRIOT1876 (The only crimes that are 100% preventable are crimes committed by illegal aliens)
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To: presidio9

what is a global-warming eco zealot to do????


16 posted on 07/22/2011 2:35:14 PM PDT by PGR88 (I'm so open-minded my brains fell out)
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To: Elendur
it’s not CO2, aerosols, etc. it’s the SUN.

Don't tell them. If they could, they would replace the sun with a

so they can shut it off at night to save energy.
Of course the other hemisphere might get a tad upset.

17 posted on 07/22/2011 2:46:20 PM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: presidio9

Global Warming - the most terrible climate trend known to man - Except for Global Cooling


18 posted on 07/22/2011 2:49:36 PM PDT by lormand (A Government who robs Peter to pay Paul, will always have the support of Paul)
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To: presidio9

19 posted on 07/22/2011 2:51:08 PM PDT by StACase (Global Warming is CRAP!)
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To: presidio9; Little Bill; Desdemona; Nipfan; carolinablonde; marvlus; DollyCali; markomalley; ...
Thanx for the ping presidio9 !

 


Beam me to Planet Gore !

20 posted on 07/22/2011 2:55:22 PM PDT by steelyourfaith (If it's "green" ... it's crap !!!)
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To: presidio9

Does this mean I can have the old inhalers back that had CFCs so I can breathe again?


21 posted on 07/22/2011 9:00:50 PM PDT by Pining_4_TX ( The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else. ~)
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To: Melinator

...baby seals and the dignified, lacrimose polar bears!!

22 posted on 07/24/2011 10:14:29 PM PDT by presidio9 (Islam is as Islam does.)
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