Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Climate Change Predicted as Air Quality Improves

30.06.2005


Global warming may proceed faster and be more severe than previously predicted according to research about to be published in the scientific journal “Nature”. Reductions in airborne particle pollution, or aerosols, as air quality is improved, will amplify climate change by reducing the cooling effect due to aerosols and also by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide that remains in the atmosphere. Uncertainty about the magnitude of past and present cooling, however, means that we cannot be certain about the strength of future warming, which may exceed previous estimates.



Prof. Meinrat O. Andreae of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany, Dr. Chris Jones from the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, and Prof. Peter Cox from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have studied the consequences of the cooling effect from man-made aerosols (tiny airborne particles) on present and future climate, and on the uptake of carbon dioxide CO2 by the land biosphere. Such aerosols have reduced the amount of the sun’s radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface, and thereby have offset some of the warming impact of greenhouse gases - such as carbon dioxide - which have warmed the global climate during the 20th century. However, their harmful effects on air quality and human health have led to clean air legislation requiring us to clean up our emissions.

This necessary reduction in aerosols will result in a reduction of their cooling effect and hence will accelerate global warming. Dr. Jones likens this to driving a car whilst pressing both the accelerator and the brake, “Now we are taking our foot off the brake, but we don’t know how fast we will go. Because we don’t know exactly how strong the aerosol cooling has been, we do not know how strong the greenhouse warming will be”.


Any such warming will be further amplified by interactions between the climate and the carbon cycle - i.e., the Earth’s natural biosphere. Ocean and land based ecosystems presently absorb about half of our CO2 emissions, but the impact of climate change will be to reduce this natural buffering service. “Higher temperatures mean dead matter decays faster”, explains Prof. Cox, “so if future warming is greater than expected, due to declining aerosol cooling, less CO2 will be taken up by the land, which will leave more CO2 in the atmosphere where it can add to greenhouse warming”.

The authors of the paper recognise the uncertainties, but maintain that this is a reason for action rather than inaction to cut global CO2 emissions. That’s because aerosol uncertainties act to increase the upper estimate of 21st century climate change without impacting on the lower estimate. As Prof. Andreae puts it: “The policy implications of even a 5-6 ºC temperature increase, comparable to the temperature rise from the previous ice age to the present, are enormous. Given the very grave potential consequences for the Earth’s environment and human society, the only prudent course of action would be to immediately reduce the emissions of climate-warming substances, with reduction targets well below those of the Kyoto protocol.”

The research was funded by the German Max Planck Society, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under its Climate Prediction Programme, and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and will be published on 30th June in Nature.

Barnaby Smith | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nerc.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tiny microenvironments in the ocean hold clues to global nitrogen cycle

23.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Joining metals without welding

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

Researchers illuminate the path to a new era of microelectronics

23.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>