Soot having a big impact on Himalyan temperature – as much or more than GHG’s

Image for press briefing: The Dark Side of Carbon

CLICK TO PLAY ANIMATION - Above: Tiny air pollution particles commonly called soot, but also known as black carbon, are in the air and on the move throughout our planet. The Indo-Gangetic plain, one of the most fertile and densely populated areas on Earth, has become a hotspot for emissions of black carbon (shown in purple and white). Winds push thick clouds of black carbon and dust, which absorb heat from sunlight, toward the base of the Himalayas where they accumulate, rise, and drive a "heat pump" that affects the region's climate. Please click on image to view animation. Credit: NASA Soot from fire in an unventilated fireplace wafts into a home and settles on the surfaces of floors and furniture. But with a quick fix to the chimney flue and some dusting, it bears no impact on a home’s long-term environment.

A new modeling study from NASA confirms that when tiny air pollution particles we commonly call soot – also known as black carbon – travel along wind currents from densely populated south Asian cities and accumulate over a climate hotspot called the Tibetan Plateau, the result may be anything but inconsequential.

In fact, the new research, by NASA’s William Lau and collaborators, reinforces with detailed numerical analysis what earlier studies suggest: that soot and dust contribute as much (or more) to atmospheric warming in the Himalayas as greenhouse gases. This warming fuels the melting of glaciers and could threaten fresh water resources in a region that is home to more than a billion people.

Lau explored the causes of rapid melting, which occurs primarily in the western Tibetan Plateau, beginning each year in April and extending through early fall. The brisk melting coincides with the time when concentrations of aerosols like soot and dust transported from places like India and Nepal are most dense in the atmosphere.
“Over areas of the Himalayas, the rate of warming is more than five times faster than warming globally,” said William Lau, head of atmospheric sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Based on the differences it’s not difficult to conclude that greenhouse gases are not the sole agents of change in this region. There’s a localized phenomenon at play.”

He has produced new evidence suggesting that an “elevated heat pump” process is fueling the loss of ice, driven by airborne dust and soot particles absorbing the sun’s heat and warming the local atmosphere and land surface. A related modeling study by Lau and colleagues has been submitted to Environmental Research Letters for publication.

A unique landscape plays supporting actor in the melting drama. The Himalayas, which dominate the plateau region, are the source of meltwater for many of Asia’s most important rivers—the Ganges and Indus in India, the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh, the Salween through China, Thailand and Burma, the Mekong across Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and the Yellow and Yangtze rivers in China. When fossil fuels are burned without enough oxygen to complete combustion, one of the byproducts is black carbon, an aerosol that absorbs solar radiation (Most classes of aerosols typically reflect incoming sunlight, causing a cooling effect). Rising populations in Asia, industrial and agricultural burning, and vehicle exhaust have thickened concentrations of black carbon in the air.

Sooty black carbon travels east along wind currents latched to dust – its agent of transport – and become trapped in the air against Himalayan foothills. The particles’ dark color absorbs solar radiation, creating a layer of warm air from the surface that rises to higher altitudes above the mountain ranges to become a major catalyst of glacier and snow melt.

Still from animation
CLICK TO VIEW ANIMATION – Tiny, dark-colored aerosols — specifically black carbon — travel along wind currents from Asian cities and accumulate over the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayan foothills. Seen here as a light brown mass, these brown clouds of soot absorb sunlight, creating a layer of warm air (seen in orange) that rises to higher altitudes, amplifying the melting of glaciers and snow. Credit: NASA/Sally Bensusen Nicknamed the “Third Pole”, the region in fact holds the third largest amount of stored water on the planet beyond the North and South Poles. But since the early 1960s, the acreage covered by Himalayan glaciers has declined by over 20 percent. Some Himalayan glaciers are melting so rapidly, some scientists postulate, that they may vanish by mid-century if trends persist. Climatologists have generally blamed the build-up of greenhouse gases for the retreat, but Lau’s work suggests that may not be the complete story.

Building on work by Veerabhardran Ramanathan of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, Calif., Lau and colleagues conducted modeling experiments that simulated the movement of air masses in the region from 2000 to 2007. They also made detailed numerical analyses of how soot particles and other aerosols absorb heat from the sun.

“Field campaigns with ground observations are already underway with more planned to test Lau’s modeling results,” said Hal Maring who manages the Radiation Sciences program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “But even at this stage we should be compelled to take notice.”

“Airborne particles have a much shorter atmospheric lifespan than greenhouse gases,” continued Maring. “So reducing particle emissions can have much more rapid impact on warming.”

“The science suggests that we’ve got to better monitor the flue on our ‘rooftop to the world,” said Lau. “We need to add another topic to the climate dialogue.”

h/t to Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.

Related Links:

> The Dark Side of Carbon: Will Black Carbon Siphon Asia’s Drinking Water Away?
> Soot is Key Player in Himalayan Warming, Looming Water Woes in Asia
> Asian Summer Monsoon Stirred by Dust in the Wind
> A Unique Geography — and Soot and Dust — Conspire Against Himalayan Glaciers
> About Bill Lau
> Ramanathan’s Nature Study

Gretchen Cook-Anderson
NASA Earth Science News Team

157 thoughts on “Soot having a big impact on Himalyan temperature – as much or more than GHG’s

  1. Soot, eh?

    I have forgotten – how many million tons of space dust hits the atmosphere each year though meteors, etc?

    Just wondering…

  2. so it would seem the solution to Himalayan melting is…

    wait for it…

    MORE economic development in the area. Which requires the availability of abundant, cheap energy supplies, which currently are only mass produced through the combustion of fossil fuels.

  3. This is an example of man-made climate change I can believe in! Fortunately it’s relatively cheap and easy to reverse. Too bad there isn’t more focus on fixing these types of problems instead of almost solely focusing on CO2 emissions.

    A few years ago a UCI report said that up to 40% of the warming in the Arctic is due to black carbon, apparently most of it from China. If we can convince China to control pollution from diesel trucks we can greatly reduce the black carbon darkening the ice in the Arctic at a cost of about $250 per truck.

  4. I question this conclusion. Dust is a FAR greater particulate in the atmosphere than carbon soot is. The depiction of purple and white clouds gives a very wrong impression and leads the reader to think the colorful but menacing looking clouds are made up of just soot. Nothing could be further from the truth. This could be another way to bring about the green political change NOAA seems to be a party to but will be plagued with the same questionable scientific underpinnings.

  5. I’m glad you are highlighting this.

    I think most on this blog are quite sceptical about AGW claims, but if one accepts that some warming due to CO2 is quite plausible, the sensible policy action is to tackle pollution first.

    In my view AR4 underestimates the forcing from soot, and it is much cheaper and more practical to tackle this than CO2 emissions.

    Various policies appear plausible : one is to furnish families in developing countries with better cooking appliances. Another is strengthening controls on diesel emissions, and a third would be to reduce wild fires by better management of the countryside.

    Apparently coal fired power stations are not a problem.

  6. Put the smoke through a water bath trap. How hard it that?
    Deutz does it on their permissible diesel engines, last I looked.

  7. Sounds a lot more scientific than the guff we get from alarmists. Satellite photos from NASA regularly show these clouds of muck parked up along the mountains and in parts of Northern India you can chew the smog

  8. I’ve just emailed following message to Mr. Piers Corbyn
    “Mr. Corbyn
    There is a snow storm in Copenhagen tonight. Congratulations. I personally and some of the people I correspond with, consider you a weather forecaster of our age.
    All the best.
    Regards M. Vukcevic”

    WA News No 91 – 30th Nov 2009
    WeatherAction releases free long range forecast for Copenhagen
    Climate summit to be hit by blustery deluges, probably turning to snow or blizzards and icy blasts in the region at times – especially heavy when President Obama visits
    Honest Greens called on to “Jump from the Titanic before you and what you stand for gets dragged down with it”….

    http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=114&c=1

    Click here to view this news item

    http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews09No91.pdf

  9. I know they’ve been quiet lately, but anyone want to place bets on how long it will take RC to “debunk” this research? Or had they done this already ;)

    “Progress will come by more systematic comparisons among studies to identify key uncertainties. The unambiguous distinction between individual aerosol species within models will eventually become possible by direct observation as a result of more discerning instruments. Nonetheless, models will remain valuable for their ability to distinguish natural and anthropogenic sources of the same aerosol species. While Bellouin et al. assume that all soot particles over the ocean are anthropogenic, naturally occurring forest fires contribute as well. As consensus emerges regarding the global aerosol forcing, attention will turn to regional values that cause local changes to climate and heat redistribution by the atmosphere. Because of the added complexity of cloud physics, the aerosol indirect effect may be even more resistant to consensus. Aerosol forcing remains a crucial problem because its offset of greenhouse warming is expected to decrease with time as governments address the health problems associated with aerosols. Because of their comparatively short lifetimes, the concentration of aerosols decreases much faster than that of CO2 given a reduction in fossil fuel use. [B]Regardless of the absolute amount of the forcing, future reductions in aerosol emissions will be a positive forcing, amplyfying the warming effects of increasing greenhouse gases[/B].”
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/an-aerosol-tour-de-forcing/ – attempt at emphasis mine

    I think he’s saying it won’t be a consensus issue any time soon (i.e. it’s debatable) but at the same time the net effect of removal of aerosols (which I believe includes soot right?) will be a positive forcing… “regardless”.

    Please correct me if that summarization of his summarization is off, but my reading does seem to conflict with the article for the Himalayas.

    We should not read into this more than what it is, a regional study – whereas the RC analysis is intended to be global… but if the heat gain from soot > heat loss from other aerosol shading in this instance, this could challenge the assertion that the net global effect of aerosols is the reverse.

    …or I might not know what the heck I’m looking at

  10. Combine the soot effect with glaciohydraulic supercooling and you are going to have a lot of ice melt.

    I can see where soot causes more melt, which causes more seepage to the bottom of the glacier, which causes glaciohydraulic supercooling, which spits more dirt material to the surface.

  11. “We need to add another topic to the climate dialogue.”

    might want to double check your ‘5 times the rate’ thermometers before you head down that road, Mr. Lau. I’m just sayin…

  12. In China, the “pollution” is more dust than soot. Yes, that dust is born of farming and irrigation practices. But nonetheless, most people are mistaken about the amount of soot in China’s atmosphere compared to the amount of soft yellow silt dust.

  13. OT: can anyone tell me how the erruption of the Mayon volcano may impact on cooling? Is this a possible climate altering event or small fry?? Please excuse my mistake if this is the wrong area to post a question not quite in line with the thread under discussion.
    Kind regards

  14. My question is this, if the glaciers lose more ice in summer months due to extra warmth, will this stop all those people downstream from having water? The way they talk about it they make it sound like a disaster, but it will still rain / snow there regardless of temp, and the rivers will still flow! They may get more variation in flow, but they will still have water – whats the issue?

    No one complained when the glaciers used to shrink in the past?

  15. “travel along wind currents from densely populated south Asian cities and accumulate over a climate hotspot called the Tibetan Plateau”

    Sounds like another reason to bring manufacturing back to the United States. Pollution control is stricter here = less soot. Quit outsourcing everything to China and India. Build closer to market = less fuel used = less soot. But all we hear is that the developed countries are supposed to cut back which would result in even more soot.

  16. An additional thought… the models assume future aerosol reductions as a net positive. If it was, in fact, a net negative or neutral it means their emissions targets and other future projections are completely off… which means the targets they’re talking in Copenhagen are overstated

    Hehe, and that’s assuming the rest of the models and projections are accurate. Which is not a given ;)

  17. By “black carbon” I assume they really mean “carbon black” correct?

    I don’t know why things are so dumbed-down these days.

  18. Yeah, I’m with Pamela. I’m not sure that these particles are just doing warming.

    Carbon particulates, when they fall out of the atmosphere, can depress the freezing points of the glaciers, increasing the range at which the surface of the glacier can melt.

    It’d be nice to get some surface scrapings of the glaciers from the area and check them for particulate matter concentrations over the span of a year. In fact, I call dibs on this! NSF money here I come!

  19. Looky, ANOTHER computer model that confirms the researcher’s theory. XBox climate science at its best. These guys can prove ANTHING with their models! On the bright side, the People are Evil Freaks are not blaming the West this time. Welcome to the club guys.

    OR

    Perhaps this study is not junk science with the model, data, and methods, programmed, adjusted, and contrived to give the desired result.

    How can you tell?

  20. The problem here being that China releases immense amounts of soot from uncontrolled coal mine fires. I wonder if anyone has discussed putting those out?

  21. @ George
    “Various policies appear plausible : one is to furnish families in developing countries with better cooking appliances. Another is strengthening controls on diesel emissions, and a third would be to reduce wild fires by better management of the countryside.”

    Sticking to India just for now,far too many folks there have been passed over by the new prosperity in that country and cook using nothing more sophisticated than dried dung so anything has to be an improvement.
    Control on diesel emissions sounds reasonable until you actually see what is been driven, the owners make parts for some of the ancient wrecks that would be a criminal offense to have on the road in the “developed world ” Bill mentioned a figure of $250 dollars for cleaning up the exhaust, that is beyond the yearly income of most Indians.But it would be a much cheaper and positive way of cleaning up that locality than giving billions to African despots as is be proposed by the UN .Send them all our old trucks and get the place cleaned up,meanwhile stimulating the motor industry in the USA and Great Britain

  22. One solution is catylac converters on cars and scrubbers on all the coal plants and factories.

    Here in the developed world both have been done so the factories here are just pumping out the plant food that is CO2 instead of that nasty soot.

  23. One of the largest sources of both CO2 and soot is the bulldozing and burning of the Indonesian rainforest in order to create palm oil plantations. Palm oil is then sent to Europe for use as a “green” fuel. Indonesia is the 4th leading emitter of CO2 though not a heavily industrialized country.

    Kyoto and now Cap and Trade encourage this type of shifting of CO2 emissions. It will take a hundred years or more of palm oil use to recoup the CO2 that is currently being released through deforestation.

    A byproduct of this deforestation is the extinction in the wild of the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger. These magnificiant animals will be the first victims of “global warming” not the polar bear.

  24. Aren’t those animations based on fluid dynamic computer models?

    I agree with Pamela Gray (10:59:17) that there are much more dust in the air than soot. Wind storms and volcanoes bring much more dusts up in the atmosphere than all the diesel and coal emissions.

    I would be critical of such finger-pointing as anthropogenic soot being the culprit when looking at the source of the research… I can see Hansen’s fingerprints all over this. The good news is… we don’t breath out soot.

  25. Hmmmm…does this mean China should pay for the damages done to Tibet? ….. No … wait …they have occupied Tibet…

  26. The “threatens fresh water resources in a region that is home to more than a billion people” claim is entirely false and reflects the ignorance of those who compiled the IPCC report where the claim originated and has been endlessly repeated from.

    All Himalayan rivers are in flood from mid to late summer due to the Indian monsoon. Any reduction in flows from dissapeared glaciers would be a welcome relief to those annually suffer these often devastating floods.

    In fact, melting and dissapeared glaciers would increase winter and especially spring runoff when Himalayan river levels are at their lowest, and any water shortages from low river levels would occur.

  27. Now we’re talking real pollution.

    The problem isn’t a global one, but a national/regional one. It is something that both India and China will find themselves forced to deal with as their economies grow and their people, no longer having to worry about just surviving, will demand the air be cleaned and pollution reined in – a quality of life issue.

  28. So it is smog and soot from a quarter of the world’s human population living in India and Nepal – not CO2. Kiss cap-and-trade goodbye since it will do nothing about this.

  29. Just wanted to say sorry to the rest of the world for our idiot Prince Charles at Copenhagen today! And coming up, another idiot in the form of Hilary Benn (his father was an equal idiot). Mr Benn will sprout on and on about oceans becoming corrosive due to too much CO2. Again sorry.

  30. Now THIS is a cause-and-effect relationship with climate worth considering. (Could this be what’s been happening in the arctic?)

    Question is, will the Alarmists come out of their CO2 bunkers long enough to listen?

  31. The problem is, that the REAL Scientists are saying something else.

    According to Raina;

    Himalayan glaciers: A state-of-art review of glacial studies, glacial retreat and climate change

    You can download it here;

    http://www.mtnforum.org/rs/ol/browse.cfm?tp=vd&docid=5408

    Ive read the whole report.
    Basically what he is saying, is that the glaciers are more or less showing that we are on our way out of the last ice age, and its very difficult to conclude anything. A totally different story than the IPCC numbers.

    So, where did these IPCC-types get their stuff from again?

    A plot on a Personal Computer? Do I smell something rotten again?

  32. We can blame India and China for the melting glaciers and get them to pay us (The USA) for damages. Those creeps are causing our drought in California and destroying my skiing ! Pay up ! Refrigeration coils under all those ski slopes is going to be pricey. That solves the debt crisis. China and India and whomever else should be ashamed, but giving all their dollars back to us will save the planet and make everything hunky dory… I have charts to prove it. Trust me. Huh?

  33. Most of the particulate pollution in India is from domestic cooking fires. A problem solvable by providing affordable electricity or bottled gas for cooking. A solution that would substantially improve the lives of many millions. However, the policies of the global warming advocates would actively prevent this solution.

    India is absolutely right to resist any attempts to prevent their development, especially the provision of electricity and gas services to rural areas.

    BTW, Bob Moss is right. The SE Asian Tiger will be the first major extinction from global warming due to the environmentally disasterous GW policies.

    Incidentally, I have only ever seen one tiger in my life. It was dead beside a track running through one of the vast palm oil plantations in Malaysia. It was emaciated and had clearly starved to death.

  34. Is this like the same kind of soot that from 1940 to 1975 caused a net cooling?

    Just askin’.

    Well, if 50 to 100 cities burning to the ground during WWII didn’t do that, I doubt anything we did after did. I figure that net cooling was mostly a negative PDO.

    In any case, unlike CO2, soot is an easy fix.

  35. How hold on a minute. A few years ago I thought the “Climate Modelers” said the had to increase the amount of aerosols to offset the lack of warming in their models to match observe data leaving one to believe that all aerosols have a cooling effect on temperatures. Who would have “thunk” that a solid particles would absorb both short and long wave radiation? I bet tax payers paid a bundle for that tidbit of information.

  36. Bill Jamison (10:56:03) :

    “This is an example of man-made climate change I can believe in! Fortunately it’s relatively cheap and easy to reverse. Too bad there isn’t more focus on fixing these types of problems instead of almost solely focusing on CO2 emissions.

    A few years ago a UCI report said that up to 40% of the warming in the Arctic is due to black carbon, apparently most of it from China. If we can convince China to control pollution from diesel trucks we can greatly reduce the black carbon darkening the ice in the Arctic at a cost of about $250 per truck.”

    But that is too easy -we must hand the Chinese more reasons to pollute-like most of the West’s remaining industry….

  37. “Industrial and agricultural burning, and vehicle exhaust have thickened concentrations of black carbon in the air. ”

    Hmm, thickened. So what’s that in ppm please?

  38. I think that this particular problem is and Indian/Pakistani one and nothing to do with China in that the soot is coming from the south? I doubt if this is a political issue and purely ,as many have observed here, a regional issue caused by poverty and one that could be tackled without enslaving us as the Alarmistas seem to want/

  39. ” Jerry (11:20:50) :

    By “black carbon” I assume they really mean “carbon black” correct?

    I don’t know why things are so dumbed-down these days. ”

    No, no. It’s to distinguish it from the other form of carbon. Usually called diamond.
    (OK, there’s graphite as well, but that’s blackish.)

    And, of course, calling it ‘soot’ doesn’t have the evil connotation associated with the word ‘carbon’.

    Same scam as ‘the oceans are becoming more acid’. They’re not. At most slightly less alkaline, and still with a pH above 7. But ‘acid’ is eeeeevil.

  40. I am always annoyed to read that glacier retreat could have such a devastating effect on the water resource of people. I think someone should point out the following, especially when the Himalayan glaciers are the subject:
    Himalayan glaciers have their maximum melt and run-off in the period from June/July to September/October which coincides with the monsoon rains and thus are often contributing to the flooding of the lower and near coastal lands. So it would be better if the winter precipitation in the Himalayans would flow down the rivers to help the drought – which is most severe in the winter – than being accumulated as snow. The summer flow is often 10 times or more than the winter discharge.

    Moreover, before the climate change scare, most scientific papers were studying the seasonal snow melt as the major contributor to the discharge from upstream rivers and not the glacier melt.

  41. I’ll be in the Northern Himalayas next week.

    I’ll let you guys know how cold/hot it is when I get back.

  42. So….was it CO2 black or soot black?…changing threads as Tarzan, from tree rings to burnt amazon trees?
    Something more credible to sign on?

  43. “mumbojumbo mumbojumbo new modeling study mumbojumbo detailed numerical analysis mumbojumbo mumbojumbo…could threaten…more than a billion people… mumbojumbo…beginning each year in April and extending through early fall…melting coincides with the time when…soot and dust…are most dense in the atmosphere…”

    And coincides with Spring, when stuff melts.

  44. O.T.

    On Spaceweather.com:

    “BIG NEW SUNSPOT: Just yesterday, sunspot 1035 was nearly invisible. Today, it is as wide as seven planet Earths. The fast-growing active region burst into view on Dec. 14th with a magnetic polarity that clearly identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. If the expansion continues apace, it could soon become the largest sunspot of the year.”

  45. I am not saying that there might not be something to this, but have we not seen the following line before

    “Field campaigns with ground observations are already underway with more planned to test Lau’s modeling results,”

    Will there be any “adjustments”

  46. Oh…. and is this another embryonic environmental scare? Will the inevitable conclusion be:

    If we don’t reduce our use of fossil fuels, we’re all going to die!

    I’m just thinking out loud you understand.

  47. So these countries that kick up all that dust and blow all that soot into the air want us to pay for the alleged damage that they are causing locally?
    There’s a problem with dust and soot warming the place up.
    The clouds of dust from N. Africa and Russia kicked up in 1941/42 from all that mechanized movement plus the burning of whole areas (scorched earth) and bombing didn’t warm up anything. It got colder.
    Never mind.
    Might as well play tapes of Iraqi Bob. At least that guy was good for a laugh.

  48. It’s good to highlight that there are legitimate pollution concerns that adversely affect climate. Too often I think that people find themselves falling into 1 of 2 camps: CO2 and all industrialization is evil, or all CO2 and industrialization are good.

    In my opinion, those who really care about the environment should be encouraging manufacturing to be domestic. In the US (and I imagine Europe and Australia) there are lots of environmental controls on what’s done. Simply put, if you want something to be made with the least environmental impact – make it in the West. It’s irresponsible to export our pollution to other countries.

    Regards

    Jack

  49. The thing I see over looked by the comments is that they are not just relying on Computer models, they are actually going to check to see if the models are right (unlike a certain CO2 theory).

    Here is the quote:

    “Field campaigns with ground observations are already underway with more planned to test Lau’s modeling results,” said Hal Maring who manages the Radiation Sciences program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “But even at this stage we should be compelled to take notice.”

    When was the last time you heard the team PUBLICLY state that they were going to test the models against observed results. Egads they are checking the models accuracy! How novel a concept!

  50. SidViscous (12:22:34) :

    see if you can get a sample of that purple stuff that’s swallowing up the globe for analysis

    …there should be some ‘New Rules’ or something when it comes to science reporting. such as 1) when you make a neato animation with pretty colors and dramatic illustrations that are a gross misrepresentation of reality, put a disclaimer/scale in there that says ‘these purple pixels are a billion times bigger than what I’m trying to represent from my imagination’ and 2) put a link to a compilation of your data and references that led to make such broad, sweeping conjecture and conclusions so we don’t have to duplicate effort and spend the next 2 years digging it up. I appreciate the visualizations as much as the next guy, and they can be useful, but this stuff qualifies more as propaganda than anything else.

  51. This report seems utterly specious to this non-scientist, but having spent several months in Nepal over two years, I will say that the burning of firewood and yak dung is pervasive and smelly. It took weeks to get that smell out of my nostrils!

    But the idea that it’s melting the Khumbu Icefall is preposterous.

    Something only the eco-trekking greenies of Germany, Oz, and France would believe.

  52. I wish they’d show us what’s happening to all that soot coming off the coast of China. My guess is that a lot of it winds up in the arctic. That certainly would explain a great deal of the melt.

  53. RC has a post up about the CRU data and arrive at 0.54 degree increase /century… I don’t expect my comment will be posted there, so I am gonna post it here..

    “#
    DB says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    15 December 2009 at 3:30 PM

    If the CRU number is 0.54° of warming per century and half of the warming is tied to things other than CO2: namely black carbon, methane, land use changes, UHI effects, and various CFCs, then carbon dioxide is only responsible for 0.27°? That is really mind boggling that the big bad bully of C02 is only good for a quarter of a degree. Am I missing something here?
    #
    DB says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    15 December 2009 at 3:33 PM

    C02 is only half of the constituents of the warming. We can’t blame all of that .0.54°/century on carbon dioxide. So half of .54° = 0.27° of warming due to C02 over a century?”

    Thanks –not a troll– :)

  54. For years I have said that the money being dissipated chasing CO2 could have been used to diminish soot and actually have made a difference.

  55. rbateman (11:00:23) :

    Put the smoke through a water bath trap. How hard it that?
    Deutz does it on their permissible diesel engines, last I looked

    I long ago owned part of a boat builder. We used a waterfall to capture dust from sanding and cutting or trimming boat parts.
    Now road builders sprinkle water on dirt to reduce dust. It is called “fugitive waste”.

  56. Wasn’t there a study recently (within the last year or two) that explained that the visible brown haze over the Indian sub-continent was keeping temperatures there cooler than they otherwise would be expected to be? Don’t you all remember Nuclear Winter?

  57. No surprise at all. Soot is mankinds greatest health threat from combustion, always has been. People make a big deal about NO, CO, and other noxious crap coming out of cars in big cities. While those certainly are carcinogens, the soot that gets caught in your lungs never really leaves you.

  58. “The science suggests that we’ve got to better monitor the flue on our ‘rooftop to the world,” said Lau. “We need to add another topic to the climate dialogue.”

    Is this another weird scientific term? flue??!!

    soot is soot, don’t make it into a disease

  59. Douglass DC

    IIRC – a paper in Science on 10/30/09 showed that CO2 only contributes about 40-45% of GW. (Ironically, Gore pointed this out in a Newsweek interview about a month ago). The rest is methane (23%), halocarbons, soot (7%), volatile organics, etc. But Ramanathan and Long are saying that soot is a much bigger driver than this because the IPCC underestimated the amount of forcing from soot. So about 20% of the GW is from soot (black carbon).

    In total soot generated by nation, China alone far exceeds the U.S. contribution with India a major player, and their contribution is climbing fast. The reason is that we put pollution controls on our coal- and oil-fired power plants to scrub out those pollutants and so we basically have not generated any increased soot volumes in a decade. Asian coal plants don’t have those scrubbers. And we don’t cook our food over soot-generating dung and wood in cramped huts.

    What’s interesting here is that the onus to control emissions is starting to fall on China, India and Brazil. Blame for Himalayan glacier and Arctic ice melting is also shifting to Asia as the soot-generating culprit. They’ve been fouling their own nests. And all this is new information that wasn’t accurately accounted for in the IPCC 2007 report.

    So we now have the following possible causes for what might be an increase of 1 Deg. F globally over the last century:

    – Soot
    – CO2
    – Methane
    – NO2
    – SO2
    – Ozone
    – Halocarbons
    – Volatile organics
    – Water vapor/clouds
    – Regional land use changes near thermometers
    – Solar variations/sunspots
    – UHI
    – AMO
    – PDO
    – El Nino
    – Recovery from the LIA
    – Milankovitch Cycles
    – Solar System planetary orbital variations
    – Cosmic rays
    – Volcanic activity
    – Permafrost/peat
    – Clathrates
    – Leaking natural gas transmission lines
    – Deforestation
    – Poor temperature records
    – Data fudging, manipulation or fabrication
    – Lousy temperature data management
    – Poor AGW theory
    – Faulty computer models
    – Global warming hysteria
    – Political malfeasance
    – Al Gore’s lifestyle

    I’m sure I missed some possible contributors, but I think this list is a start.

  60. Oops! Forgot to add:

    – Natural variations about which we have no flippin’ knowledge

    And good luck trying to divvy up that 1 Deg. F. between all these contributors with any level of scientific confidence or credibility.

  61. Isn’t there also a study or two out that attributes most of the ‘arctic meltdown’ to accumulation of soot (Black Carbon) as well?

    And that ‘soot’ in South Asia comes not from cars and CO2 belching cement plants, but primarily from people burning wood (and horse/Cow dung) in their homes for heat and cooking.

  62. The role of soot has been obvious for a long time, as has been the bent of the warmists to avoid it.

    There was a scene on one of the older Nat Geo shows that showed how much the absorption of the under/over lying shades affected melt at the poles, but then, “surprisingly”, that subject got dropped.

    I guess they figured out that this little bit of data pointed to someone other than evil western civilization.

    As Emily Littela said, “Violins? Oh that’s different. Nevermind.”

  63. George @ 11:00:17

    Controlling wildfires has huge downsides. Just look at British Columbia. The Pine beetle has destroyed Hundreds of thousands of square kilometres. A big part of the problem was the fire suppression in the last century. The pines got too old and were not able to fight off this attack. Yes we had warmer winters for a while, but fire is just as valuable of a control on bugs/diseases in trees as cold.

  64. Jeremy,

    Good point. Soot alone kills about 500,000 – 1,500,000 people per year.

    (And add “carbon monoxide” to the list of contributors of the historic temperature rise.)

  65. Up to 40% of the airborne pollution on the U.S./Canadian West Coast comes straight from China. And it will only get worse: click

    But China [and India] insist that air pollution must be measured on a per-capita basis. This is wrong. There are over 1.3 billion Chinese. Dividing their air pollution emissions by 1,300,000,000 allows them to keep emitting as much soot, etc. as they want, based on per-capita statistical nonsense.

    There is only one atmosphere, and that is how the problem of air pollution must be approached. China already puts much more pollution into the atmosphere than the U.S., or any other country for that matter. [click] They are building 2 – 4 new coal-fired power plants every week. None of them use stack scrubbers, which remove 99.9% of particulates.

    China is a developing country, but they are no longer dirt poor. They have close to a trillion dollars saved up from selling trinkets and clothing to America, and they have plenty of money from other countries, too. They can afford to start to control their particulate emissions.

    The West must insist that the developing countries stop the per-capita talk. There is only one atmosphere, and we all share it. The U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England and Europe have done their part. The U.S. is actually a net “carbon” sink [CO2 absorber]. Singapore and Japan are among the cleanest countries on Earth. So cleaning up pollution can be done, and the technology, developed by the West, is available free to China and other gross particulate emitters.

    China, India and other air polluting countries have the means to dramatically reduce their huge air pollution emissions. But they lack the will — and they will continue to lack the will to clean up after themselves as long as they think we might pay for it.

    The sooner it is made clear to those countries that they must clean up their own mess without free money from the West, the sooner they will get serious about it.

  66. Add “agricultural tillage practices” and “forest fires” to the list. Sheesh!

    Andrew Parker

    I referred to Ramanathan who did a neat experiment recently with a fleet of little unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). He flew them through the brown clouds downwind of Asia and at different elevations. He found that the brown clouds were heating up the atmosphere rather than reflecting heat back into space. That’s sort of counterintuitive and so surprised a lot of people, I think.

  67. nominal (12:41:21) :

    see if you can get a sample of that purple stuff that’s swallowing up the globe for analysis

    So long as it is not Posleen I’ll give a try.

  68. People are too enthusiastic on alternative causes besides CO2 over here. Be criticial on every report. First we have to make sure there is something like Himalayan gletsjer meltdown. An article in last months Science appears to show that meltdown is slowing down or there is no meltdown at all:

    Climate Change:
    No Sign Yet of Himalayan Meltdown, Indian Report Finds
    Pallava Bagla

    Are Himalayan glaciers beating a rapid retreat in the face of global warming? That would seem to be the case, according to a flurry of recent reports by BBC and other mass media. But the picture is more complex—and poses scientific puzzles, according to a review of satellite and ground measurements released by India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests earlier this week. The report, by senior glaciologist Vijay Kumar Raina, formerly of the Geological Survey of India, seeks to correct a widely held misimpression based on measurements of a handful of glaciers: that India’s 10,000 or so Himalayan glaciers are shrinking rapidly in response to climate change. That’s not so, Raina says.

  69. Oh rest ye merry souls… permanently.

    Modern humans use a lot of BTUs, with all the cars, homes, heat, manufactured stuff, and whatnot. That’s a lota carbon footprints for the planet. (as if that’s really a problem, but I’ll play along)

    The World Bank and the UN need to pay carbon credits to individuals for a little HUMAN EUTHANASIA, to get carbon numbers restored back to “normal?”. (what the heck is normal ?)

    Volunteer work is always welcomed on the planet. Now what to do with all those happy toxic carbon filled corpses? Into the antarctic permafrost, now there’s a carbon sink for ya.

    I’d take my credits, up front though, I’d want to do a little round the world vacation once or twice first with the proceeds. I’d even walk (not), just show me the money ! Instead of cap and trade….it’s de-cap and grave… AGW problem solved.

  70. What’s up with this? How come the CO2 from China ends up in California and the dust ends up in the opposite direction? At least that’s the argument that California’s Cap and Trade doesn’t work.

  71. Reading this I just realised I am experiencing a final collapse in my ability to take seriously, let alone come close to believing, any climate verbiage from any of these US or Western government research institutes. Such panic-stricken utterances reveal that they know the public is on to the fact that they are nothing but corrupt self-serving political clubs with nothing to offer scientifically. The political hoops and initiations that any “scientist” must go through to be part of any of these organisations amount to an effective scientific and intellectual castration – no matter how much money is thrown at them, they will never get anything right.

  72. @ Smokey (13:30:45)

    “The sooner it is made clear to those countries that they must clean up their own mess without free money from the West, the sooner they will get serious about it.”

    At the risk of diverting this blog into politics, I must vehemently disagree.

    The idea is not that group A creates effect M which demands response X, as opposed to group B creating effect N which demands repsonse Y. The reality is that both causes and effects are far beyond our ability to control.

    I no more agree with your prescription than I do with AlGore’s.

  73. I think it’s true, that soot in very large quantities can accumulate solar power and raise the local temperature some.

    But I don’t buy it that the soot is the culprit in the melting of glaciers drama.

    Why does a glacier seem to melt faster the more it melts away?

    That ought to be a rather simple question for anyone who’s been taking a nice stroll in the high mountains. It’s all about simple geography and basic physics.

    Here’s a hint: imagine a funnel laying on the side, where the narrowest point is the base of the glacier.

    That’s one thing.

    Another thing is that the more a glacier retracts, or melts away, lots of soot is going down stream, and the surface area of the glacier gets smaller.

    A third thing is that these melting glaciers they speak of have been retracting since the little ice age. So the soot back in the hay days of the early 19-century must have put out a lot of soot, to hasten hundred of yards thick ice to melt away.

    A fourth thing is that the soot has to outperform, so to speak, the white of the surface area.

    A fifth thing is that melting glaciers tend to melt from below. And I’m not seeing soot be able to outperform pressure and friction.

    The sixth sense tells me that even if the soot is truly the evil character in this whole drama of some of the chinese glaciers hasty melt, would they really prefer the glaciers were growing instead of retracting? After all, looking at the yellow river the glaciers aren’t melting fast enough no more, or rather, even though the hasty melt the quantity of the melt water just doesn’t cut it, the yellow river needs more.

    And an anecdote, just like most countries that has lots and lots of glaciers, even China hasn’t measured more than a fraction of the total amount, usually just the biggest most easy to come by.

  74. Aren’t we back to the very basic question posed by the surfacestation project? What amount of glacial loss has occurred and how sure we are both to the absolute loss and the rate of change. And perhaps as importantly when did they form and at what rate. (Many of the glaciers that we are alarmed (cited) about are centuries old not millenia) Unless we have a high confidence in the basic field data these studies are nothing more than interesting what ifs. I feel we should be “compelled” to get good data first and only later figure out what it means.

  75. SidViscous (13:39:40)

    i had to look that one up, but no worries, the alien invasion scare is a few years away. maybe dick cheney will follow in al gores’ footsteps and make a documentary on it

    Jason (13:49:59)

    that is troubling, isn’t it? check this one out http://www.popoffsets.com/what_we_do.php

    google Thomas Robert Malthus to see where that kind of stuff probably originates…

  76. When is everyone going to realise that we just do not know what the climate will do in the next 5 years let alone the next 50 years. It’s all pure guess work. So, any move to reduce GHG, soot or any other man-made factor in isolation may in fact make matters worse not better. We need to tread very carefully. Besides, who’s to say the global cooling period we has last century (which sparked a panic about a coming ice-age) might have been reversed by man-made GHG emissions!? We just do not know. This doesn’t take into account the fact that countries like China and India will be increasing their GHG emissions for many years if not decades to come, much more and faster than what the developed countries can do to reduce them in the next 100+years. Do the maths.

  77. Could someone please confirm/deny my reading of this article further up? Could this be contributory proof that one of the forcings in the Climate Models is overstated or potentially backwards?

    They (RC and the IPCC models) state that a reduction in aerosols (some of which, like SO2, block solar gain and some of which, soot, increase it) will cause a net *increase* in heat… Their models assume future reductions in aerosols (due to countries “cleaning up their act”) would essentially counteract the (theoretical) temperature reductions from reduced CO2.

    Seems to me that the positive/neutral/negative forcing relationship for aerosols is an interesting question… especially if RC and the IPCC plugged it in backwards

  78. I have long believed that aerosol particulate pollution is a real environmental problem, unlike CO2. However I feel that global dimming and cloud nucleation during a solar minimum are more of a concern than glacier melt.

    I am not sure that particulate pollution can be a plug and play replacement for the CO2 scare. Firstly it is a real pollution problem that has already been addressed in developed nations, so there are real solutions. Those behind the CO2 hoax are not looking for solutions, only continuing problems that justify major social and economic changes. Secondly the nations most responsible for the current particulate problems are not western democracies and this will not suit an anti free market agenda. Thirdly the solution from western experience is increasing and improved technology. This would mean increasing westernization of the developing world, something not high on the watermelon policy list, because it would erode their “guilt base”

    I’m sure the fellow travelers in the AGW hoax will move onto something more ephemeral and not science based, so it can’t be as easily debunked. I would suggest LCSD or Lifestyle Comparison Stress Disorder as the next big thing. We will need global governance, massive wealth redistribution, reduced freedom and reduced living standards if we are to reduce our “Stress footprint” on the developing world. So much better than CO2 as you can’t disprove it with science. Better than particulate pollution as you can’t solve it using proven technologies. Also great for the MSM as they can contribute to the problem while claiming to be concerned about it…

  79. K. Bray (11:58:43)

    “Those creeps are causing our drought in California and destroying my skiing”

    Not if you ski in California they aren’t. Mammoth having another great season. All lifts going by Wednesday. 04/05 was record snow for mammoth. Almost FIFTY FEET of snowfall. Almost as much the previous year.

    https://www.mammothmountain.com/_ecomm/past.years.snowfall.cfm

    Last couple of years Utah fields closed with 10 feet of snow. They almost always do.

  80. The effect of aerosols is situational. Soot over lush green areas or urban areas may have minor impact as well as be reflective if its floating over such regions of the world. Soot over snow and highly reflective regions of the world would have a strong warming effect. It’s not enough to say that black carbon will always be a net negative or net positive on warming.

    It depends. Also all aerosols are not created equal. So it depends there, too.

  81. Great debate on BBC TV (4) just now. Had Lindzen, Lomborg and Watson arguing it out for half an hour. Very intelligent interviewer too. Will post up the iPlayer link when it’s available.

  82. OT: Bob Watson has just been made to look an absolute bafoon on BBC 4 climate debate! He stumbled and blustered about new technologies every time Bjorn lombergh ( forgive spelling! ) put it to him that a billion people are living in poverty right now never mind a hundred years time! The host interviewing him asked him how much global warming would be reduced if all of the developed world lived a carbon free life. He would not answer despite being pressed again and again for a response! He ended up looking like an idiot.

  83. @ Jack Edwards (12:31:42) : – Here’s a prime example of how Carbon Trading exports pollution, and 1000’s of jobs:

    (Mods, sorry for posting the same link in 2 different threads, but I thought it was relevant to both)

  84. JerryM (13:25:42) :

    (And add “carbon monoxide” to the list of contributors of the historic temperature rise.)

    Why add CO to the list? CO is utterly insignificant as a greenhouse gas.

    I can see why the real scientists have just about stopped coming here.

  85. OFF-TOPIC (Question)

    First let me say that I know next to nothing about climate science, but am so appreciative of WUWT for all of the information. This is better than any Soap Opera out there :-)

    Every time I see an advertisement for a vitamin or non-pharmaceutical health supplement on TV, I notice that on the bottom of the screen (or the print add or on the product labeling, etc.) is fine print that reads something like…

    “These statements have not been verified by the Food and Drug Administration etc…”

    I’m assuming that this is done to protect consumers and that somewhere in Washington somebody lobbied to make this a requirement for health supplement manufacturers.

    Now, I see endless ads for various products touting numerous “green” features and benefits.

    My question is, is it “legal” for companies to do this? Isn’t extolling the “green” virtues of their product a misrepresentation if no proof exists that a “green” product is actually green? Shouldn’t these ads also be required to provide some sort of disclaimer that these claims of “greenness” have not been tested/reviewed by the DOE or some other qualified government agency? Just curious.

  86. LPM (15:00:16) :

    As I understand it, there is an effort underway to score a product’s “greeness” – and I believe Wal Mart of all companies was leading the way on it.

    That said, for now there is no standard (legal or otherwise) for labeling a product as “green”. The definition for the term means vastly different things to different people

  87. lowercasefred (14:00:28),

    I agree that global climate cycles are beyond human control, if that’s what you meant. Sorry if I didn’t make it clear enough, but I was referring specifically to the emission of particulate pollution, such as fly ash/soot from coal fired power plants.

    Particulate emissions are easily controlled. The technology is mature. But filters, precipitators and centrifugal traps are not cheap.

    In China, money matters more than anything else. In the West, and in enlightened countries like Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, a clean environment trumps cost. That’s why we have a clean environment and China doesn’t.

    The problem occurs when developing countries expect Western taxpayers to pay to clean up the pollution they emit.

    We did not cause their pollution. They did. And they have the means and the resources to drastically reduce particulate emissions. The arguments they make, such as basing a country’s emissions on their per-capita, show that they are not sincere about cleaning the atmosphere.

  88. So I ahve walked on quite a few mountain glaciers; in several parts of the globe; well North america, and NZ; surely that is a good enough sample for accurate climate studies.

    Yes the snow and ice was riddled with dust; can’t swear that it is soot, but it looked black to me. And quite typically when the sun is out each of those black dust particles sits in its own micro crater on the snow surface; a melting gift from the particle no doubt.

    Well the snow of course is merely an indicator that the dust particles do get warmer than their surroundings. I’m sure they do exactly the same, when they fall on the ground out in a parking lot, or airport runway.

    Some of those dust (soot) particles are so small, you wonder why they even fall to earth at all, rather than being carried aloft by thermals, including their own local self made thermals.

    If I didn’t know better, I would swear, that each of those little dusticles actually became the nucleus for a water droplet, that subsequently became rain or snow, or even hailstones; and that could certainly be a mechanism for dumping them out on the ground, including all those glaciers.

    So here’s the question; is the cooling effect from the clouds formed around these sooticles more potent than the warming effect due to the BB absorption of the particle. And of course those little sooticles would also scatter a lot of light which generally leads to cooling.

    So what does the peer reviewed experimental evidence say; is soot an atmospheric warming agent; or is it perhaps a cooling agent.

    Once on the ground, those little dudes actually bore their way down in the snow, and eventually are removed from further heating effect.

  89. acementhead (14:32:00) :

    K. Bray (11:58:43)

    “Those creeps(in India and China) are causing our drought in California and destroying my skiing”

    acementhead (14:32:00) :
    Not if you ski in California they aren’t. Mammoth having another great season. All lifts going by Wednesday. 04/05 was record snow for mammoth. Almost FIFTY FEET of snowfall. Almost as much the previous year.

    acementhead,

    Northern California TV keeps telling me we are in a drought. I really believe them, don’t you? Forget the real snowfall. It’s probably all soot colored anyway, and doesn’t count as real snow. Surely, don’t eat any of it !

    Is there really snow up there? Really? You’re not going to believe just your own visual cues are you? We really need climate change to look good. Spin it. oops…. isn’t it snowing in Denmark too? . Nevermind…

  90. “”” Smokey (15:13:25) :

    lowercasefred (14:00:28),

    I agree that global climate cycles are beyond human control, if that’s what you meant. Sorry if I didn’t make it clear enough, but I was referring specifically to the emission of particulate pollution, such as fly ash/soot from coal fired power plants.

    Particulate emissions are easily controlled. The technology is mature. But filters, precipitators and centrifugal traps are not cheap. “””

    Well many years ago, Monsanto Chemical in St Louis MO decided to clean up their act, and put chimney scrubbers (of their own design) on all their chimneys in East St Louis to remove the rainbow colored smokes that their plants there used to emit. (they made Sacharin there somewhere)
    The management hollered a bit at first at the cost; but once they had done the design and built the scrubbers, they suddenly discovered that every Tom, Dick and Harry, wanted to buy a Monsanto Scrubber to put on his chimney/still/hookah etc, and lo and behold out of the blue Monsanto had itself a very nice profitable new business in selling chimney scrubbers worldwide.

    Sometimes one’s best decisions are made by other people.

    PS Sacharin was Monsanto’s very first product. They also make about 85% of the world’s Aspirin, and sell it by the railcar load; not to mention the detergents you find at your local supermarket, which mostly contain Monsanto raw ingrediants. They even make Nylon, which was a Dupont invention; but Monsanto makes it from a different precursor, which gives them better nylons at lower costs; they sell a lot of nylon. And then there is the ubiquitous Astro-Turf, which I can testify, does not make a very good Cricket Pitch, although I once did play cricket on one; just for PR.

  91. Good article in the sense that it is highlighting a real pollutant, but it’s twenty years too late.

    After the acid rain scare and the smog over our cities in the West, we did something about it by putting scrubbers in our chimneys and introducing controls on our car and truck emissions.

    Bolstered by that success we then thought we’d tackle CO2, and the Kyoto protocol was born. In the negotiations for that treaty, China and India were not only given a pass on their CO2 emissions, no controls were discussed regarding their other emissions.

    Putting in scrubbers is much easier and cheaper when a plant is being built, than retrofitting afterwards. We in the West could have actually made money out of it through consulting/technology transfers.

    But with no requirement to do so, nothing was done, and here we are now reaping what we have sown. This is yet another casualty of our fixation with demonising CO2. It will take years to undo this.

  92. Anybody here from Washington? Near the Palouse country? Then you know about wind blown dust. The rich soil there didn’t grow there. It was blown there. And it can be carbon dated. It includes thick layers of carbon, layers of ash, and layers of just plain ol’ silt. Layers that are much thicker than the thin measly layer of dust we are getting our knickers in a twist over. Ask any geologist about carbon dust. Let’s not attribute smarts to the same people who gave us CO2-global warming. K?

    As for lung disease in China and India? Instead of sending them money to clean up their air, send them the patch. They smoke like there is no tomorrow!

  93. “”” AdderW (13:11:06) :

    “The science suggests that we’ve got to better monitor the flue on our ‘rooftop to the world,” said Lau. “We need to add another topic to the climate dialogue.”

    Is this another weird scientific term? flue??!!

    soot is soot, don’t make it into a disease “””

    Well influenza is “flu” and not “flue” which is another name for part of a chimney.

    So the speaker Lau was speaking quite correctly.

    Anybody who didn’t get their education from a California Public School would know that one.

  94. George E. Smith (15:50:11) :

    “Anybody who didn’t get their education from a California Public School would know that one.”

    Hey! I got mine in Red Bluff, and dares nowthing rong with MY knows.

  95. As a field engineer in the Petro/Chemical industry for 30 years, I’ve traveled the world installing my company’s equipment. In the United States since the EPA laws of the 70’s the vast majority of the projects were EPA related, Scrubbers, Bag Houses, Precipitators, SOx, NOx, COx reduction programs, CO boilers, Waste Heat Boilers, Power recovery trains just to name a few and all of them costing millions of dollars. There was very little production increase expenditures until recently. As a result, most plants in the USA are very clean now.

    However, if you go outside of the USA, there is little to NO EPA equipment, none of the above and this includes Europe. They simply exhaust to the atmosphere. I questioned this at a plant in India and was told that the people just know to not live down wind. They could reduce their emissions by 50% by installing a simple 100$K knock out pot. So, soot and dust in India does not really surprise me.

    The biggest problem is 1.3 billion people in China using COAL as their primary cooking and heating fuel. You’ll see carts of 6” diameter disks with holes drilled in them everywhere in the country side, well, that’s good ole coal and it’s used in the vast majority of rural homes. In Beijing the smog is so bad you can’t see more than a mile. It is the worst I’ve ever seen and I was born in Los Angeles in the 50’s (OK so I am dating myself). I was stuck on a ship on the Yangzi river for two days because the smog was so bad you couldn’t see more than a ¼ mile. The US EPA estimates that ¼ of the smog in Los Angeles is actually from China. So, soot in China also comes as no surprise.

    Copenhagen should be concentrating on cleaning up the real pollutants, sulfur, heavy metals, cyanide, fluorocarbons … etc instead of wasting it’s time on an inert trace gas like CO2.

  96. Pamela Gray said :
    “As for lung disease in China and India? Instead of sending them money to clean up their air, send them the patch. They smoke like there is no tomorrow!”

    I wonder why no AGW believers have gone after methane from tobacco?

  97. George E. Smith (15:50:11) :

    “”” AdderW (13:11:06) :

    “The science suggests that we’ve got to better monitor the flue on our ‘rooftop to the world,” said Lau. “We need to add another topic to the climate dialogue.”

    Is this another weird scientific term? flue??!!

    soot is soot, don’t make it into a disease “””

    Well influenza is “flu” and not “flue” which is another name for part of a chimney.

    So the speaker Lau was speaking quite correctly.

    Anybody who didn’t get their education from a California Public School would know that one.

    Yes my bad, I should have looked it up. Since english isn’t my first language I should have double checked. How many languages do you speak? I speak 4, but I obviously do not master english yet :)

  98. A few notes on clean burning coal power. First is the type of coal being burned. The soot is taken care of by a precipitator, electrically charged plates that attract partials to them to remove them from the smoke stack. The carbon in the soot is 1 to 9 % the rest of it is mostly fly ash. Then work on the burners to adjust the NOx level being released. I believe some plants use ammonia injection to handle this also. Then the scrubbing done is the to handle the sulfur being released they handle this by injecting lime into the system. This is in the US.

  99. Shouldn’t the H-word in the headline be “Hima-LAY-an?” As it is now, it appears to rhyme with “Somalian.”

    AdderW (16:17:14) : “Since english isn’t my first language I should have double checked. How many languages do you speak? I speak 4, but I obviously do not master english yet :)”

    I speak every language except Greek. Go ahead, try me! :-)

  100. As climates change, so do fashions. According to my sources, dark colors will once again be all the rage among peppered moths in the coming years.

  101. Yes, it’s easier and less expensive (for the scrubber part of the plant) to build a power plant with scrubbers than it is to retrofit scrubbers to an existing plant.

    It’s much more expensive to demolish or abandon an old power plant and build an all new plant with scrubbers than it is to retrofit them to older plants that are otherwise good enough.

    The way the EPA rules are in the USA makes it nearly impossible to retrofit newer pollution control technology to old power plants. The “greens” demand that to be able to use the latest pollution control technology, the whole plant has to be new or updated.

    Thus there are many “dirty” power plants in the USA (yet far cleaner than the average Chinese plant) which the EPA is forcing to be more polluting.

    President Bush #2 tried for years to get the EPA to allow those plants, which were “grandfathered” in their existing configurations when stricter standards were enacted, to upgrade their pollution controls.

    The “greens” have kept blocking such pollution *decreases* by claiming they’d be *increases*. How they come by that claim is they calculate what the emissions would be if all those older plants were replaced by all new plants meeting the current rules – then they calculate what the (somewhat higher yet still lower than without upgrades) emissions would be from upgrading the old plants.

    Take that difference and TADA! “George Bush’s ‘Clear Skies’ plan will INCREASE POLLUTION!” because the actual pollution decrease would fall short of what might be possible with all new power plants.

    It’s the same phony accounting used to claim “budget cuts” when any government organization (like schools) gets an increase that’s not the amount they demanded, yet is still larger than the previous year’s budget. “We asked for $5M but only got $4.5M. They cut our funding by $500K!” (Nevermind last year’s budget was $4M!)

  102. As I understand it, these “brown clouds” can be quite large – several miles across, and hundreds of meters high, and last anywhere from a few days to a week before they dissipate. They’ve been known to suffocate livestock, and are of course dangerous to humans with health issues such as asthma. It seems logical that they would absorb energy from sunlight and gain in temperature more than the surrounding air, and that if they came into contact with glaciers could cause higher melt rates. As to just how much melting they could cause, it doesn’t seem to me it could be a considerable amount, since they don’t last that long.
    Soot, though, is considered to be an aeorosol, which are supposed to have an overall cooling effect. Expounding a bit on what George E. Smith (15:16:26) said above, perhaps it is the size of the sooticle which determines its overall climatic effect, with smaller particles rising higher along with other aerosols, blocking sunlight, and causing cooling, and larger, heavier ones traveling in lower flying brown clouds, adding some of their accumulated warmth to glaciers as well as depositing directly onto the ice and adding insult to injury by boring holes into it.
    The bottom line is of course that it is real pollution that should be dealt with, not C02, which is harmless.

  103. What would be interesting is to see if the hypothesis here is borne out in actual temperature change in the L.A. Basin. The 60s, 70s and 80s had high particulate counts that have been greatly reduced over the bast 20+ years. Has L.A. cooled with its reduction in particulates (i.e. soot)?

    Doug

  104. @LPM

    ‘First let me say that I know next to nothing about climate science,’

    Apparently not even the (in)famous climate scientists do, even though they, as dare I say everyone, goes through the seasons every year.

    Personally I think most of every day rational people know more about actual climate science ’cause of a neutral and objective stance to pretty much everything that has to do about the weather, i.e. there’s no readily inference of every negative bit into belief and faith about doom and gloom to come.

    The MannStickBear parade and Al Gore can trumpet their horns all they want but it still won’t change the fact that not even they would want to go back to the median temperatures that is the schtick.

  105. Are they pretty sure that soot is also called black carbon? Because that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of that. I’ve heard of carbon black, but it’s not soot.

  106. This makes me wonder how many other things we could be researching to help countries get rid of real pollution, such as soot, untreated waste water, ocean dumping of waste, landfills, contaminated water run-off from coastal cities into the ocean, etc. if all the research money wasn’t going to the global warming scam.

    The Greens are going to turn the Earth brown if they keep diverting resources to a non-problem.

  107. who remembers when soot was a prize … in the 1970s the very same liberals wanted to coat the poles with carbon black to stop the for sure coming ice gae.

  108. GISS Model E has a +0.1C impact built-in for Black Carbon on Snow (and Ice).

    I’m not sure I really buy this explanation. We all know black surfaces on snow can warm up and melt through the snow or the ice.

    But the last snow and ice to melt in the spring is the snow/ice covered by soot. The soot accumulates on top (eventually) and starts to act as an insulating layer and keeps the cold in and the warmth out. Many glacial melting fronts actually look black rather than white because this soot and material tends to (eventually) accumulate on top forming an insulating layer and pushes the glacial front out farther than it would have been without being covered in soot and dust.

    In any event, the negative Aerosols impact on temperature does not seem to actually occur. The Black Carbon/Soot that goes with it seems to have a greater warming influence than the sulfate Aerosols negative impact.

    There is a reason why the northern hemisphere has warmed faster than the southern hemisphere and why Asia seems to be warming faster than other places on the globe right now. And it is not because the negative impact of Aerosols which should have affected the northern hemisphere more than the southern and Asia now.

    In the chart above, you might have noticed the -0.6C impact of Aerosols which allows the climate models to come close in hindcasts to the actual (artificially adjusted upward) temperature trend.

    It doesn’t hold together. Black Carbon – Aerosols – Artificial Temperature Adjustments – Normally called Fudge Factors.

  109. “”” AdderW (16:17:14) :

    George E. Smith (15:50:11) :

    “”” AdderW (13:11:06) :

    “The science suggests that we’ve got to better monitor the flue on our ‘rooftop to the world,” said Lau. “We need to add another topic to the climate dialogue.”

    Is this another weird scientific term? flue??!!

    soot is soot, don’t make it into a disease “””

    Well influenza is “flu” and not “flue” which is another name for part of a chimney.

    So the speaker Lau was speaking quite correctly.

    Anybody who didn’t get their education from a California Public School would know that one.

    Yes my bad, I should have looked it up. Since english isn’t my first language I should have double checked. How many languages do you speak? I speak 4, but I obviously do not master english yet :) “””

    Well if you speak four languages; then you very likely didn’t get your education from a California Public School; so we’ll give you a pass on the English; which I often say is the only foreign language I ever studied.

    In fairness to you I should say that flue is somewhat archaic; and in particular it is not so common in America, as it likely is in other English speaking countries; but if you think “chimney” you’ll roughly have the gist of it.

    Come to think of it; we used to have a very nice African chap working in our company cafeteria; washing the dishes specifically; in an otherwise all Mexican restaurant crew; who of course conversed among themselves in Spanish leaving our African friend in the dark (he was from Ghana), so he just washed the dishes, in his business suit, plus apron, and he always wore a nice bow tie. I asked him why he didn’t get out of the sink and get himself a much better job, with workmates who would converse with him.

    Turns out he was fluent in English, French, Spanish plus three African Languages of the Bantu family, and he wasn’t at all interested in his crew mates knowing that he understood every single word they said about him; and he really didn’t have to think much while washing the dishes quite happily.

  110. BIll Illis,

    You seem to forget that the soot that you see is not so much soot as it is other particulate. It’s not because of soot that trees grow on a glacier, it’s because of the accumulated soil, but that pretty much only adheres to some glaciers, if not most, due to the fact that every time it snows a lot of white is added that offset the soot capability to warm, and that’s not even taking into consideration the offset that hundred of feet of ice tends to have on anything that want to get warm on the surface.

    And never to forget that a retracting glacier leaves mountain sides bare and those mountain sides are no small variable to consider as a heat sink working from below. Now couple that with weight pressure and friction…. or have you never wondered why there is running water high up in the mountains from glaciers when the temperature reads even as high as minus 20?

  111. I don’t trust these studies about soot any more than I trust studies of CO2. These scientists work in the same departments and on occasion write papers about CO2 based warming – thus they’re unreliable.

    I think our cause is damaged when we readily accept science that agrees with our beliefs, while always rejecting science that doesn’t. We’re not on message. We need to be skeptical about this, too, otherwise we risk losing integrity by seeming to blindly embrace ANYTHING that contradicts AGW.

  112. 1DandyTroll (18:26:06) : (nice nic by the way).

    GISS Model E builds in almost the same impact for Black Carbon on Snow as the Solar Irradiance increase through the past century.

    Does that seem reasonable to you.

    During parts of the ice ages, huge dust levels are recorded in the ice layers for thousands of years and this didn’t seem to reverse the ice ages. It wasn’t until solar irradiance picked up that the ice finally melted back.

  113. A man from Orissa in India told me that in some areas laundry on a washing line gets black in one day. There are plenty of big coal and steel plants in East-central India, and environment rules are not seriously enforced on big companies. Also, millions of people cook on wood fires, plus hundreds of thousands of old diesel trucks ply the sub-continent.
    China is another story.

  114. JerryM (13:34:02) :

    Thanks, I remember it now. After some quick googling, I found this document at Dr. Ramanathan’s website:

    I think that the following excerpt is important, so did he:

    “It is important to note that our simulations do not contradict the surface
    cooling effect of ABCs [Atmospheric Brown Clouds]. In fact, in our simulations, ABCs cooled the surface over most of the plains in Asia, while warming the overlying free atmosphere. The surface cooling and the atmospheric warming are two sides of the same energy-balance coin: absorption by ABCs causes solar radiation that otherwise would have warmed the surface to instead warm the free atmosphere from1 to 5 km above the surface. In addition, the ABC induced warming was due to air pollution originating from all of Asia and not just S Asia, as can be seen most every day from satellite particle sensors. The latter two points were missed by the media covering the finding.”

    The question that came to mind when I was reading this and some of the other documents he listed in his bibliography was, What happens to the heat in the atmospheric black carbon and dust blanket (or parasol) when the sun goes down? Perhaps I just missed it, or he addresses it in one of his other papers? I will take a closer look — sometime.

  115. acementhead;

    I apologise on the”carbon monoxide ” inclusion as a forcer. It’s just that finding 35-40 other environmental forcing mechanisms for global warming is quite a treat! I got overenthusiastic.
    What slice of the globlawarming increase pie can be claimed by each forcing and at any one time and for what duration? And will it change seasonally? That’s gonna be tough.

    The science isn’t settled.

  116. This sounds way more plausible than CO2 to me, but its unlikely to be a “cause” of global climate change on its own. I suspect any human contribution to climate (+ and -) will be though the combination of lots of little effects like more GHG’s, increased soot and particulates in the air, urban heat islands, land use changes, deforestation, changes in water courses etc.

    Shouldn’t more soot promote cooling though? I thought thats what volcanic eruptions did with all the ash in the air – perhaps soot concentrations in the high atmosphere don’t have the same effect or concentraiton? Maybe we need to start poking Mt Pinatubo, El Chichon and Mt St Helens with a big stick or take more long haul flights.. ;)

  117. As a AGW skeptic now quickly becoming a denier hahaha from the emails etc. I would say that this is one point the warmistas and coldistas could agree on, and say that humans could influence to some extent locally… ice on mountains and maybe NH and SH poles. But for Gods sake forget C02 etc…! But then what would eruption of as volcano such as Mt Helen have had on surrounding ice?

  118. Having seen that map I’m off to Tibet to harvest that carbon black. You wouldn’t believe what it costs to produce that stuff industrially.

  119. Bill Illis (19:27:56) :

    Hang on hang on hang on…

    That says that land use is a negative forcing? I can’t think of a single land use activity over the 20th century (new roads, deforestation, concrete… maybe damns?) that would result in a negative forcing. Am I missing something here?

  120. Nick B. (08:24:53)

    Land-use is a negative because deforestation and agricultural land acts to increase Albedo. (Technically, this forcing also includes the Urban Heat Island so it is a little counter-intuitive). Deforestation out-weighs the growth of the cities I guess. Its just that most of the temperature stations are in the cities and not in the rural areas.

  121. Bill,
    Interesting… for some reason I guess I had gotten the impression that deforestation would increase temperatures… I guess that was really pointing to the indirect effect through CO2 (since everything’s caused by CO2 amirite?)

    Damn forests… warming up our globals and what not ;)

    Thanks for the reply good sir!

  122. Will someone help a layman out?

    I’ve been up the side of Pumori, a mountain very close to Everest and Nuptse, separated from them by the great Khumbu glacier. There’s very little air up there ( roughly 18,400 ft): sound carries poorly, and one’s judgment of distance is messed with, as EVERYTHING looks wonderfully crystal clear and up-close, due to the lack of air and water vapor.

    So I am wondering….

    Unlike most glaciers in, say, Alaska and Greenland, those in the Himalayas are at high altitudes, where the entire atmosphere is very thin. CO2, we have learned, is a relatively heavy molecule (at least vs O2 and N2), and would thus have a tendency to sink in any atmospheric column.

    So… thin atmosphere, and a smaller fraction of CO2 in that high-altitude atmosphere than one would find at lower altitudes. Right? So…how could CO2 concentrations be the culprit in the slow shrinking of Himalayan glaciers?

  123. The greatest problem highlighted by the CRU emails is the way dissent was stamped upon. Inevitably this prevented alternative global warming hypotheses being explored.

    So far I can think of three:

    Black carbon. I see no explanation of the isotope changes which can be attributed to this.
    The Kreigesmarine Effect: does the lot including the WWII blip.
    The Silicate Hypothesis: dissolved silicate increases the diatom bloom at the expense of coccolithophores. Heavy carbon pulldown is relatively increased while overall CO2 pulldown is decreased. DMS production is reduced so fewer low level clouds, more heating. I like this one — which I thought of last night — because it also does the cod population collapse on the Grand Banks.

    Oh, no, make that four. A trace gas which encourages cloud formation somehow uses the clouds to increase its tiny greenhouse effect. Depending as it does on the idea that up to the production of anthropogenic CO2 the system was in a position of exquisite balance, a balance which was unable to take the tiniest disturbance, this one is an obvious non-starter.

    Can you imagine how difficult it would have been to obtain funding to investigate 1,2,3 in the last twenty years?

    JF

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