Skip to comments.Stratospheric Pollution Helps Slow Global Warming (Good news: aerosol sprays are saving us)
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 aerosolsinjected into the atmosphere by either recent volcanic eruptions or human activities such as coal burningare 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 stratospherethe middle layer of the atmosphere 10 kilometers upit 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 geoengineeringthe deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the planetary environmentthat 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 accelerateand 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.
Pass that tidbit on to the liberal world.
This is total BS, now they will be yelling Global Cooling and resell their communist tax and spend plans...
And it took them how long to admit that particles cool the atmosphere?
When Nabro volcano in Eritrea erupted, it put out ‘record amounts of SO2’ according to the satellite monitoring that stuff.
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.
thx for posting that info I had seen it somewhere recently.......
Now they will say global cooling....
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?
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!!
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......
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?”
Give the kid a million dollar grant for truth and accuracy.
what is a global-warming eco zealot to do????
Global Warming - the most terrible climate trend known to man - Except for Global Cooling