Monday, July 23, 2007

Reducing Air Pollution May Increase Global Warming

Researchers are studying plumes of dust that billow from China and make their way across the Pacific. These plumes are a combination of natural and man-made airborne particles, dust and pollutants, that can be 300 miles wide and six miles deep. They make their way across the Pacific and hover over California, they can circle the globe in three weeks. Scientists believe these dust plumes may be masking the effects of global warming due to a high concentration of sulfate particles which reflect sunlight and have a cooling effect. They warn that as China and other nations begin to curb their sulfate emissions, global warming could occur faster than predicted.

This is really nothing very new. In April, 2001, climate researchers warned that efforts to reduce air pollution could make global warming worse if those strategies were not well-designed. Reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides to control ozone in the lower atmosphere, for example, would lead to greater methane levels and increased global warming.

Does this mean that man should stop efforts to reduce air pollution? Of course not. What it does show is that the atmosphere and global climate are extraordinarily complex systems, and global movements to address one aspect of the problem of air pollution may have unexpected effects on both the atmosphere and the climate.

The Al Gore's are ready to force regulations on nations around the world that for some will be economically disastrous, especially those developing nations for whom such restrictions can be a death sentence to their poorer inhabitants. Man's attempts to understand the infinitely complex systems of Earth that allow life on this planet to continue are in their infancy. In his fumbling attempts to control those systems, such as climate, he could destroy it and himself.

Air pollution control efforts will add to global warming if carbon monoxide is not curbed along with nitrogen oxides

Huge Dust Plumes From China Cause Changes in Climate


Janus Torrell said...

People always want easy and simple solutions. If it was easy and simple we would have done it by now really.

Rollo said...

Complex problems may call for complex answers but this is the generation that stands in front of the microwave, tapping a foot. Unfortunately, only simple answers sell, you can't get groundswell support for anything that requires patience and research.