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    Global climate change

    The Number Two Contributor to Global Warming

    1/17/2013, 6:00:42 PM

    It is clear that the steady increase in atmospheric CO2 is the number one contributor to global warming, but what is number two?

    A four-year assessment by an international panel has determined that black carbon (soot) is the number two contributor.

    The soot particles of smoke and smog, otherwise known as black carbon was found to contribute about two times more to global warming than previous estimates.

    Black carbon cloud droplets.

    590x331_01180348_444519main_black_carbon_cloud_droplets_med


    Excerpt from the University of Washington news.......... Black carbon’s role in climate is complex. Dark particles in the air work to shade the Earth’s surface while warming the atmosphere. Black carbon that settles on the surface of snow and ice darkens the surface to absorb more sunlight and increase melting. Finally, soot particles influence cloud formation in ways that can have either a cooling or warming impact.

    Black carbon deposits on the Himalayan Range.

    590x390_01180351_image_large


    The good news is that black carbon only stays in the atmosphere for only a few days, so that reducing these emissions can yield much more immediate results compared to atmospheric CO2, which has a half-life of 100 years.

    The researchers found that reducing emissions from diesel engines followed by replacing some wood and coal burning household stoves would have the greatest immediate cooling impact when it comes to black carbon.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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    Global climate change