Print 50 comment(s) - last by ZachDontScare.. on Aug 2 at 1:54 PM

  (Source: Civilianism)
But reducing soot will lower the Arctic climate more quickly than CO2

Stanford researcher has proven that reducing soot emissions rather than carbon emissions will slow the melting of Arctic sea ice faster. 

Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson developed a special computer model of air pollution, weather and global climate that has atmospheric processes that do not appear in other models. With this, he observed the effects of soot from both fossil fuels like gasoline, coal and diesel, and from solid biofuels like dung, wood and manure. According to his findings, both types of soot combined together is the "second-leading cause of global warming after carbon dioxide."

Climate models previous to Jacobson's have misread the effects of soot in the atmosphere, hence, it has been ignored when it comes to national and international global warming policy legislation. Soot is now second place in the global warming contribution ranks, putting itself above methane. Soot also "prematurely" claims the lives of more than 1.5 million people each year, and causes respiratory illnesses in millions more worldwide. 

While decreasing carbon emissions is important and at the top of the list, reducing soot emissions from fossil fuels and solid biofuels could slow the progression of global warming almost instantly. Jacobson came to this conclusion because soot only lingers in the atmosphere for a few weeks, and then it is washed out. Contrarily, carbon emissions stay in the atmosphere up to a century, which is a large gap of time before visible results of emission cuts are available. 

"Controlling soot may be the only method of significantly slowing Arctic warming within the next two decades," said Jacobson. "We have to start taking its effects into account in planning our mitigation efforts and the sooner we start making changes, the better."

During the last century, the Arctic's net warming has been at 2.5 degrees Celsius, and will only get warmer if no action is taken. By reducing soot emissions, warming above the Arctic Circle will decrease over the next 15 years by as much as 1.7 degrees Celsius. 

While these two types of soots combined are largely contributing to global warming, the soots individually are just as dangerous. Soot caused by the burning of fossil fuels is more of a contributor to global warming while soot caused by the burning of solid biofuels is more dangerous to humans. Solid biofuel soot causes eight times more deaths as fossil fuel soot. 

The difference between the two types of soot is black carbon, which is found in the fossil fuel soot and has a significant effect on warming over the Arctic. Black carbon absorbs solar radiation, converts sunlight to heat and radiates it back to its surroundings (air). It is able to absorb light reflecting away from the Earth's surface as well. This is particularly threatening to the Arctic because the black carbon is in the air over ice or snow, sunlight hits the black carbon both while coming toward Earth and when it reflects off the ice and back into space. 

"There is big concern that if the Arctic melts, it will be a tipping point for the Earth's climate because the reflective sea ice will be replaced by a much darker heat-absorbing ocean below," said Jacobson. "Once the sea ice is gone, it is really hard to regenerate because there is not an efficient mechanism to cool the ocean down in the short term."

Researchers have found that the best way to reduce soot emissions is to attach particle traps, which filter soot particles from exhaust, to vehicles like buses and diesel trucks. This is a cheap, effective and fast way of taking care of the issue. Another way to eliminate soot would be the use of electric vehicles, but automakers are just now releasing these cars onto the market, and it will take some time to push gasoline-powered vehicles completely out of the picture. 

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RE: Wrong
By amanojaku on 7/30/2010 1:03:49 PM , Rating: 5
In all fairness, when people talk about greenhouse gases they usually mean gases released as a direct result of human activity. It's true that water vapor contributes to 50-75% of the global warming potential, but water vapor isn't usually a direct result of human activities.

Which is why I laugh at all the enviro-nuts. I'm a tree-huger, and I'll tell you all this global warming nonsense is just that. Since water vapor heats up the Earth the most (50-75%) and holds that heat the longest (years, compared to the days or weeks of true greenhouse gases) our daily activities do very little to heat the Earth to any appreciable degree.

Instead, my concern is respiration: all that crap in the air gets in your lungs, and other places. There is a direct correlation between the increase in greenhouse gases and health issues such as respiratory infections, asthma, bronchitis, etc...

RE: Wrong
By wookie1 on 7/30/10, Rating: 0
RE: Wrong
By nafhan on 7/30/2010 4:38:05 PM , Rating: 4
By talking about problems with respiration and crap in the air, he's probably meaning things like soot and sulfur dioxide rather than inert gasses like CO2.

RE: Wrong
By Reclaimer77 on 7/31/10, Rating: 0
RE: Wrong
By knutjb on 7/31/2010 12:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
Instead, my concern is respiration: all that crap in the air gets in your lungs, and other places. There is a direct correlation between the increase in greenhouse gases and health issues such as respiratory infections, asthma, bronchitis, etc...
I agree, look at what comes out of the stacks in China, India etc... There are a number of ways to control these pollutants. Natural gas has oxides of nitrogen problems but no particulate problem.

Usually uncontrolled burning of heavy oils and coal produce the most but they can be fixed with current technologies. Farming and other land use mistakes can put large amounts of particulates in the air. I recently saw a suggestion to use coal dust on ice/snow covered roads in lieu of salt and it was highly effective. So there is some practical reasoning behind it.

The rush to judgment usually leads down the wrong path. GW/GC/CC or what ever they want to call it today is nothing more than a rush to judgment with out all the possibilities having been considered. This is an extraordinarily complex issue and a simple bad guy solution will only cause bigger problems than it will solve.

RE: Wrong
By JediJeb on 7/31/2010 1:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
Very true. Have any of these models taken into consideration the recent volcanic activity and the deposits of ash they leave on the arctic ice? Any ash deposited on the ice would reduce its reflectivity which would in turn cause it to warm faster and melt.

It is only my opinion, but I believe that CO2 is getting the blame for more contribution to warming than it should. What other variables besides soot and ash have not been plugged into the climate models that could be acting like "stealth" components to warming. Stealth in the sense that the have an effect but are not included in the calculations. If you leave out a variable that contributes to warming, then for the equation to balance you have to attribute more weight to an included variable than it actually has, thus something gets unmerited blame.

RE: Wrong
By angryplayer on 7/31/2010 11:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
Holy shart. A self-proclaimed environmentalist with sense.

I'll eat my hair.

(btw, I completely, 100% agree with you.)

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