Fears that efforts to reduce air pollution could dramatically accelerate the process of global warming have been remedied by the release of a seminal new study.
Scientists have long feared that while air pollution has devastating effects on human health, it has paradoxically slowed down the warming of the atmosphere. Pollution particles help clouds form with more water droplets, meaning they reflect more of the sun's energy back into space.
So far, it has not been clear to what extent pollution accidentally contributes to the cooling of the planet. If the slowdown is strong, it could mean that air purification efforts will accelerate global warming and make the fight against climate change even more difficult.
However, recent research at the University of Reading has shown effects on pollution from different clouds in different ways. As some clouds get thicker, others become thinner, meaning that the pollution is unlikely to offset more than half of the greenhouse gas warming.
The results published in Nature give more hope for curbing global warming Moving to cleaner energy sources may still work without an unexpected additional heat source.
Velle Toll, lead author of the study at Tartu University in Estonia, said: "So far, this has been thought to be the formation of thicker clouds, when water droplets in polluted air condense around the particles, delay precipitation, and bring more sunlight back into space
"To test this, we studied satellite data from clouds near pollution sources. In fact, the average water content in all the polluted clouds found has barely changed, indicating that pollution makes little difference for many cloud types. Some clouds became thicker, others thinned out.
"This reduces a great deal of uncertainty for future climate predictions, and our study provides more evidence that reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution is a win-win situation for lung health and prevention of the worst effects of human health Climate change. "
For this study, researchers have used clouds of near-infrared satellite imagery to search the globe for clouds that have formed over polluted areas. Clouds affected by pollution appear brighter in these pictures.
Scientists located hundreds of polluted clouds around the world, produced by tiny particles of pollution from sources such as volcanoes, cities, ships, factories and forest fires. They analyzed whether cloud models simulated with climate models are appropriate to better predict future climate change.
Dr. Nicolas Bellouin, co-author of the study at the University of Reading, who is also the lead author of Working Group I in the 6th Assessment Report of the IPCC, said: "Fears that reducing air pollution could increase global warming are a concern for Climatologists: What if our efforts to purify the air actually caused global warming to worsen? for human health. There is now an excuse less not to reduce emissions of air pollution and greenhouse gases, or we will continue to experience a temperature increase that puts people and nature at risk.
"A small temperature rise in any case The result of reducing pollution is a price that pays off to bring greater, long-term harm from greenhouse gases prevent. "
Air pollution can affect heat waves
Velle Toll et al. Weak Average Liquid Cloud Water Response to Anthropogenic Aerosols, Nature (201
Reduction of pollution does not lead to an increase in global warming (study of 2 August 2019)
retrieved on 2 August 2019
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealings for the purposes of private study or research, no
Part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.