View Full Version : Toxic Cloud Masks Warming Effects

Ought Six
11-14-2008, 10:21 PM
Toxic Cloud Masks Warming Effects (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122663410530927635.html?mod=googlenews_wsj)

The Wall Street Journal
NOVEMBER 13, 2008

BEIJING -- A roughly two-mile thick cloud of soot and smog hanging over most of Asia is wrecking havoc on agriculture and health but masking the effects of global warming, a United Nations study found.

The atmospheric brown cloud made of different particles resulting mostly from burning coal is causing hundreds of thousands of deaths in Asia and billions of dollars in economic losses, the study said. But it helps reduce the impact of climate change by between 20% and 80%, said the report released Thursday by the Project Atmospheric Brown Cloud, established by the United Nations Environment Program.

The cloud's impact is worst over the developing countries in Asia, where some half of the world's population lives, the study said. The finding echoes previous research that found the soot from coal burning in countries like China, the world's leading user of coal, is helping mitigate global warming by shading the sun. Fossil fuels, when burned, emit both global-warming gases and pollutants that cause smog.

That finding illustrates the complexity of balancing economic growth against reducing pollution. Moving too quickly to reduce some types of pollution without reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses could have disastrous consequences, the study said.

Eliminating the cloud would rapidly increase global temperatures two degrees Celsius, which coupled with the already measured rise of 0.75 degrees in the 20th century could push world climate past what scientists consider a dangerous threshold.

Outdoor pollutants could kill 340,000 people a year in China and India, while indoor pollution, from sources such as open wood fire stoves, is killing another 780,000 in the two countries, the UN said.

Write to Shai Oster at [email protected]

11-17-2008, 12:58 AM
Burn more coal... block sunlight... fix so called global warming...


Problem solved!

11-17-2008, 09:50 AM
Toxic cloud = warmer nights (less irradiation and loss of heat) ... How does that prevent global warming ?

11-17-2008, 01:26 PM
ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2008) — Cities from Beijing to New Delhi are getting darker, glaciers in ranges like the Himalayas are melting faster and weather systems becoming more extreme, in part, due to the combined effects of man-made Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABCs) and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

These are among the conclusions of scientists studying a more than three km-thick layer of soot and other manmade particles that stretches from the Arabian Peninsula to China and the western Pacific Ocean.

The team has just announced their latest and most detailed assessment of the phenomenon, drawn from research centres in Asia including China and India, Europe and the United States.

The brown clouds, the result of burning of fossil fuels and biomass, are in some cases and regions aggravating the impacts of greenhouse gas-induced climate change, says the report.

This is because ABCs lead to the formation of particles like black carbon and soot that absorb sunlight and heat the air; and gases such as ozone which enhance the greenhouse effect of CO2.

Globally however brown clouds may be countering or 'masking' the warming impacts of climate change by between 20 and up to 80 per cent the researchers suggest.

This is because of particles such as sulfates and some organics which reflect sunlight and cool the surface.

The cloud is also having impacts on air quality and agriculture in Asia increasing risks to human health and food production for three billion people.