The Great Paradox: Decreases in air pollution have INCREASED global warming because clean air does not contain aerosol particles that reflect sunlight and cool the Earth
- Current pollution rates are 30 percent lower than in 2000
- However, this has led to an increase in warming from carbon emissions
- Scientists found that there is less haze in the atmosphere that blocks the sun’s radiation
- They propose using solar energy to launch aerosol particles into the atmosphere in an attempt to combat climate change
Scientists have found a great paradox in nature – clean air amplifies global warming, while pollution keeps our planet cool.
A team of international researchers determined current pollution rates are 30 percent lower than in 2000, but warming from carbon dioxide emissions has increased by up to 50 percent.
Pollutant particles, such as sulfate or nitrate, are known for their reflective properties and are commonly found in exhaust.
The team, in a desperate move, proposes to turn to aerosols again, but using a controversial type of geoengineering to do so.
This method, called solar engineering, involves launching sulfate particles into the stratosphere that will in turn create a reflective haze around the world, Science.org reports.
The study, led by Leipzig University, brings good news for human health – these particles are linked to millions of deaths each year – but is bleak for what the future holds for humanity.
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While pollution has fallen by 20% since 2000, warming from carbon emissions has increased
The team found that ocean warming has experienced an increase since 2000, which they again said is due to the world adopting guidelines that reduce the use of aerosols.
Johannes Quaas, a climate scientist at Leipzig University and lead author of the study, told Science.org that the study was conducted using instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, both of which collect data on Earth’s atmosphere.
These devices also gather intelligence about the radiation coming in and out of the Earth, allowing the study to understand the increase in infrared heat trapped by greenhouse gases.
And another instrument on the satellites showed a decrease in reflected light coming from Earth.
Scientists used NASA’s Terra and Aqua (pictured) satellites to study the atmosphere and found that there is less haze because the air is cleaner. Less haze means more radiation gets in
Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, told Science.org that there can only be one explanation for this – the air is cleaner. Dynamic laboratory. “It’s very difficult to find alternative causes for this,” he said.
All this data enabled the team to analyze haze in the atmosphere, which led to the dramatic removal of haze over North America, Europe and East Asia from 2000 to 2019.
The results sparked the idea of putting pollution particles back into the atmosphere, which would in turn reflect solar radiation back into space and ultimately limit or reverse anthropogenic climate change.
The team, in a desperate move, proposes to turn to aerosols again, but using the controversial geoengineer to do so. This method is proposed by the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, which is funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates
This method is proposed by the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment, which is funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
This first $3 million test would use a high-altitude scientific balloon to lift about four pounds of calcium carbonate dust — about the size of a bag of flour — into the atmosphere 12 miles above the New Mexico desert.
This would see a tubular area of the sky half a mile long and 100 meters in diameter.
For the next 24 hours, the balloon would be steered by propellers back through this artificial cloud, its onboard sensors monitoring both the dust’s solar-reflective abilities and its effects on the surrounding thin air.
SCoPEx is on hold, however, amid fears that it could trigger a catastrophic series of chain reactions, creating climate destruction in the form of severe droughts and hurricanes, and bringing death to millions of people around the world.