Oh, soot!

Dirty Ice: Soot is three times more effective than carbon dioxide--the most common greenhouse gas--at melting polar snow, triggering feedback loops that further accelerate polar warming. COURTESY OF NOAA/MARK DENNET via Scientific American

Also, see below the “Continue reading” line for an impressive scientific visualization video of black carbon being transported around the globe.

University of Iowa News Release July 27, 2010

UI researcher finds black carbon implicated in global warming

Increasing the ratio of black carbon to sulphate in the atmosphere increases climate warming, suggests a study conducted by a University of Iowa professor and his colleagues and published in the July 25 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. No paper was provided with the press release.

Black carbons — arising from such sources as diesel engine exhaust and cooking fires — are widely considered a factor in global warming and are an important component of air pollution around the world, according to Greg Carmichael, Karl Kammermeyer Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering in the UI College of Engineering and co-director of the UI’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research. Sulfates occur in the atmosphere largely as a result of various industrial processes.

Dr. Greg Carmichael

Carmichael’s colleagues in the study were V. Ramanathan and Y. Feng of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.; S-C. Yoon and S-W. Kim of Seoul National University, South Korea; and J. J. Schauer of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

In order to conduct their study, the researchers made ground-level studies of air samples at Cheju Island, South Korea, and then sampled the air at altitudes between 100 and 15,000 feet above the ground using unmanned aircrafts (UAVs).

They found that the amount of solar radiation absorbed increased as the black carbon to sulphate ratio rose. Also, black carbon plumes derived from fossil fuels were 100 percent more efficient at warming than were plumes arising from biomass burning.

“These results had been indicated by theory but not verified by observations before this work,” Carmichael said. “There is currently great interest in developing strategies to reduce black carbon as it offers the opportunity to reduce air pollution and global warming at the same time.”

The authors suggest that climate mitigation policies should aim to reduce the ratio of black carbon to sulphate in emissions, as well as the total amount of black carbon released.

In a paper published in May 2008 in Nature Geoscience, Carmichael and Ramanathan found that black carbon soot from diesel engine exhaust and cooking fires — widely used in Asia — may play a larger role than previously thought in global warming. They said that coal and cow dung-fueled cooking fires in China and India produce about one-third of black carbon; the rest is largely due to diesel exhaust in Europe and other regions relying on diesel transport. The paper also noted that soot and other forms of black carbon could equal up to 60 percent of the current global warming effect of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas.

Carmichael is chair of the scientific advisory group for the World Meteorological Organization’s GURME (Global atmospheric watch Urban Research Meteorology and Environment) project and chair of the scientific advisory group for the Shanghai Expo pilot project on air quality forecasting. He has worked with Shanghai authorities for three years to help develop an early warning system for air quality problems and heat waves.

The study was funded by National Science Foundation.

=======================================

Tiny air pollution particles commonly called soot, but also known as black carbon, are in the air and on the move throughout our planet. Black carbon enters the air when fossil fuels and biofuels, such as coal, wood, and diesel are burned. Since black carbon readily absorbs heat from sunlight, the particles can affect Earth’s climate, especially on a regional scale. Though global distribution of soot remains difficult to measure, NASA researchers use satellite data and computer models to better understand how these short-lived particles influence Earth’s climate, cryosphere, and clouds. This scientific data visualization uses data from the GEOS5 GOCART climate model to show black carbon’s atmospheric concentration from August to November in 2009.

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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131 Responses to Oh, soot!

  1. Karl says:

    Great! This study shows we do not need to cap carbon emissions. Just make sure all that’s released from burning hydrocarbons is H2O and CO2.

  2. JimB says:

    And here I was hoping that my link to the Wired article was the basis for this post…lol
    How many soot articles can come out at once?

    JimB

    REPLY: Jim, I had noted your tip, but it was already in my inbox from the source. Thanks though, your help is appreciated even if not on first. Sometimes the magazine article do a better job or have some interesting footnotes. – Anthony

  3. John F. Hultquist says:

    “The paper also noted that soot and other forms of black carbon could equal up to 60 percent of the current global warming effect of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas.”

    H2O?

  4. Jeff says:

    Dirty Ice: Soot is three times more effective than carbon dioxide–the most common greenhouse gas–

    The caption of that picture tells me all I need to know about the scientific methods used in this study …

  5. vukcevic says:

    Latest from UK Met Office:
    Dr Stott said: ‘Despite the var­iability caused by short-term chan­ges, the analysis conducted for this report illustrates why we are so confident the world is warming.’He added it was possible the warming could be due to something other than greenhouse gases.

    He obviously was following my posts on WUWT
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC1.htm
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm

  6. Chris R. says:

    Back in either 1999 or 2002, Hansen was singing the “It’s soot” song himself. When he saw that he was gaining traction again with the “It’s CO2″, he all but abandoned any mention of soot.

  7. Bruce Cobb says:

    “The paper also noted that soot and other forms of black carbon could equal up to 60 percent of the current global warming effect of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas.” In other words, we shouldn’t be the slightest bit concerned about it. Reducing soot is certainly a good idea, for health reasons as well as others, but it should be reduced for the right reasons. Worrying about any warming effect from it is just silliness. Par for the course for Warmists I guess.

  8. berniel says:

    Ahh, nice to hear about some good old fashion pollution. Soot and sulphates. Dickensian London. Dirty old town. When I look at the dusty sooty plant on the median of my local arterial, sitting there at exhaust pipe level, I imagine how pleased they would be if those pipes were pumping pure CO2.

  9. Curiousgeorge says:

    Excuse me, but my admittedly aged memory seems to recall an experiment by my 6th grade science teacher that demonstrated this, back in 1956. Are we all now expected to genuflect before “new” science?

  10. DirkH says:

    There’s a giveaway in the press release.
    “NASA researchers use satellite data and computer models to better understand how these short-lived particles influence Earth’s climate, cr[...]”

    Short-lived. Hmm, what does short-lived mean? Googling a little i find this:

    “The dark side of aerosols : Article : Nature – [ Diese Seite übersetzen ]von MO Andreae – 2001 – Zitiert durch: 71 – Ähnliche Artikel
    But is it reasonable to compare the present-day effects of black carbon, which has a lifetime of about a week, to that of the long-lived greenhouse gases, …

    A week.

  11. David says:

    Hmmmm, anyone recall the heavy soot production at the beginning of the industrial revolution? Where in the data does it indicate that huge amounts of soot produced in the the latter half of the 1700s and in the 1800s caused global warming?

    No need to answer. The above questions are, of course, rhetorical. The answer is that the global effects on climate of soot and other so-called anthropogenic greenhouse gasses are not very well understood. Neither is the complex mix of natural global thermodynamic elements, despite claims to the contrary from junk-scientists trying to maintain their funding stream.

    I expect NASA will soon be manipulating data to show the influence of soot. Hide the decline!

  12. Dr. Dave says:

    Isn’t this the same school that is studying why pig crap stinks? How did they source the evil black carbon to diesel and cow dung? Since when is CO2 “the leading GHG”?

  13. Phil M2. says:

    Black is the new white. Climate fashion changes so quickly nowadays, just can’t keep up.

    ‘Black carbon could equal up to 60 percent of the current global warming’ . The other 40 percent being caused by white carbon no doubt. There is a good deal running on green carbon at the moment but there are no percentages left for that one.

    Warming, WHAT WARMING!

    When are they going to ‘Man Up’ and start talking about the cooling. Is there anyone left not taking a paycheck from ‘Big Carbon’ .

    [yawn]

  14. DirkH says:

    Now what do we have here. A press release that talks long and in detail about the possible harmful effects of black carbon, about how big a “climate forcing” it may be in relation to CO2 (omitting the onlySIGNIFICANT GHG, H2O) AND omitting to tell us that black carbon has a lifetime of about a week.

    I’m not willing to blame the quality of such press releases on incompetence anymore.

  15. Peter Plail says:

    So given that there is only a certain amount of warming happening, then if some of that is attributable to soot then a smaller proportion is attributable to CO2, so CO2 is not as potent as previously thought. That is a good news story that the MSM should be cheering about, especially as there is currently no positive feedback mechanism yet proposed for carbon particles.

  16. JimB says:

    Anthony,
    Aren’t they really two different articles by different researchers published in different journals? The Wired article is going to press in “Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres”…and besides, it has MUCH better quotes ;) and the researcher is “Stanford University climate scientist Mark Jacobson”.

    Seems a bit odd to me…sort of through-the-looking-glassish?

    JimB

  17. Billy Liar says:

    Also, black carbon plumes derived from fossil fuels were 100 percent more efficient at warming than were plumes arising from biomass burning.

    Is this due to particulate size or what?

  18. Billy Liar says:

    Your iceberg has moraine on/in it, not carbon.

    REPLY:
    Just going on what was provided by NOAA and SciAm – Anthony

  19. rbateman says:

    The solution to trap black soot:
    A water bath that the exhaust is passed through.
    It doesn’t get any simpler than that, if capturing carbon soot is what you are needing to do.

  20. Tommy says:

    One could look at it another way too. The more a particle absorbs heat, the more heat it transports when a passing storm sucks it up above the clouds. The stored energy is radiated out, day and night, some up towards space, and some down to Earth. But since it got lifted above the clouds, more of that downward radiation gets reflected back towards space.

    So it seems reasonable to consider these particles as contributors to both warming and cooling, depending on the circumstances.

  21. kwik says:

    Well, since we cannot thrust them on anything else, why thrust them on this?

    The government in Norway has been pushing diesel engines on the public for years now.
    Why?

  22. John from CA says:

    The out of focus image appears to be a piece of ice from a calving glacier. The “soot” implied in the image is actually shale flour from eroding hillsides.

    “Tiny” particles from dung-fueled cooking fires (you can’t make this stuff up) in China and India are unlikely to make their way to the arctic. If soot is an issue, it’s likely coming from northern countries since the particles would be attracted to water vapor and produce clouds. Soot is necessary to make clouds – where’s the heat?

    Is the video just a computer simulation based on the UAV samples in South Korea?

  23. kwik says:

    Oh, I forgot;

    “The paper also noted that soot and other forms of black carbon could equal up to 60 percent of the current global warming effect of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas.”

    And since there has been no global warming lately, the effect would then be ….zero?

  24. Sandy says:

    Did they borrow the Met. Office’s volcanic ash program to ‘prove’ the distribution around the globe by weather?

  25. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    So all this deindustrialization in the west and moving things with carbon credits to China/India where there are no scrubbers on the chimney is causing any warming if it is actually happening not CO2.

    Time for China to be taxed to clean up their act! Not the west!

  26. Marko says:

    As John mentions, H20?

    I’m still waiting for critical thinkers to explain how methane, a “fossil” fuel, came to comprise much of Saturn’s moon Titan.

  27. PeteM says:

    I realise this web site is dedicted to finding any excuse for climate change other than human activity increasing greenhouse gases, but how much does the temperatue of this planet have to rise before we hear information here that recognises where the real problem is ?

  28. Buffoon says:

    Ah, a pickle.

    This result seems reasonable, logical, and will probably bear the brunt of proper skeptical assault. It ties together global warming (by being a blackbody absorber of energy) and pollution in a way that CO2 never could, because it is an objectionable quantity to both sides. Unfortunately, in terms of soot/industry output, the US is near the bottom of the list in terms of polluters in the whole world.

    It’s very easy to make a case for carbon black + AGW + environmentalism, but it won’t have a huge domestic money/power grab associated with it that can stand on unfalsifiable ground.

    What a pickle for everybody!

  29. Henry chance says:

    So every day we hear splendid reports from Commie China on the climate progress report. How we are never planning on catching up.

    75% of the cooking and heating in India and China is done with charcoal, wood, trash and open fire. Talk about dirty energy and pollution.

  30. Stop Global Dumbing Now says:

    “Also, black carbon plumes derived from fossil fuels were 100 percent more efficient at warming than were plumes arising from biomass burning.”

    Bah!

    NAS funded study. What more needs to be said?

  31. Its funny how the media seems to rediscover black carbon forcings every now and then. I wrote a piece on this back in ’09: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2009/07/black-carbon-and-global-warming/

    This chart gives you a good idea about the respective forcings: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/pics/0709_blackcarbon_2_431.gif

  32. atmoaggie says:

    Cool. Go, Dr Carmichael.
    I studied/worked under him at CGRER during a summer internship some years ago. Very intelligent and level-headed fellow.

    A thought: Do you guys realize whose modeling work is supported by this? James Hansen’s (And, yeah, I don’t like it much, either). He was a coauthor on a paper in 2005 (?) concluding that up to, something like, 50% of Arctic ice/snow melt was from Asia-source soot aerosol deposition. Gonna have to find that paper, now.

    Hmm, so the GCM models say that the Arctic is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” concerning CO2 warming and the mouth-CO2-ers point to Arctic sea ice over 30 years to support their work. And then we figure out that less than half of the ice melt has to do with any effect of gases, is it safe to say that GCM prognostications are overly ambitious concerning GHG-driven trends? I’d say so.

    If your physical model is correct for a while, but for the wrong reasons, it’s as guaranteed to wrong in the future as it would be if it was completely wrong from the beginning.

  33. Russ Haatch says:

    Just read an article in the local paper as how UI recieved over 400 million dollars in grants for research this past year. Wonder if this research was funded that way.

  34. 1DandyTroll says:

    When it comes to ice it’s not just soot that’s the problem but all crap that is spread around by the sea, by the polar bears, by the seals, by the sea lions, by the god damn whales and whalers alike, et cetera. But all the crap stuff in the sea prolly take the numero uno price though. :p

  35. I was in Peru earlier in the year, and the visible carbon from all those ancient diesel engines was horrifying. Although I didn’t get within maybe 5 miles of a glacier, it did have the appearance of being quite dark from soot build up.

  36. Vuk etc. says:

    A bit of nonsense; the medieval warm period was started by king Alfred burning his cakes.

  37. Ed Murphy says:

    What about the plumes from Iceland volcanoes for example? Eyjafjallajökull was spewing 100+ F-150 pickup trucks of soot and ash a second much of the time.

  38. jim karlock says:

    But….But…But…soot causes global cooling NOT warming.

    S. I. Rasool and S. H. Schneider proved it in their 1971 paper Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate , Science, New Series, Vol. 173, No. 3992. (Jul. 9, 1971), pp. 138-141.
    Stable URL:
    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0036-8075%2819710709%293%3A173%3A3992%3C138%3AACDAAE%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7

    For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase
    in density is , to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the
    exponential dependance of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease
    is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4
    in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface
    temperature by as much as 3K. If sustained over a period of several years,
    such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to
    trigger an ice age.

  39. latitude says:

    I know it’s hooey, but at least they are looking at something elses beside CO2.

    Who knows, in another few years, they might even get around to something that really is pollution…………..

  40. James Sexton says:

    PeteM says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    “I realise this web site is dedicted to finding any excuse for climate change other than human activity increasing greenhouse gases, but how much does the temperatue of this planet have to rise before we hear information here that recognises where the real problem is ?”

    If you stay here long enough, you’ll see a great diversity in the thoughts regards the CAGW theory. This “soot” study, if read properly puts another hole in the CAGW theory. 60%? So most of the scientists that were screaming CO2 were just morons and didn’t look at plain old every day pollution?

    My thoughts, I don’t have a problem with the temperature rising. I think the earth would be better off if it did. Also, what temperature rise? Tell me how much of a temperature rise should we panic for? How much rise is necessary before it gets out of the “natural variation” limits? Additionally, even if the temperatures are rising(beyond natural variations), and even if the cause is CAGW, and even if the imaginary warmth is somehow harmful(history shows us humans thrive better in warmer climates) I would still oppose the proposed solutions. There is no cause greater than the cause of liberty. Any seriously proposed solution to this imaginary problem always entails the sacrifice of the individual in favor of the collective. All of it steps towards a totalitarian oligarchy of unelected officials. No Pete, mankind has socially and politically and economically progressed too far to take a step back to those days. Regardless of how bad the floods and droughts could be in the warped fantasies of the alarmists, it won’t be near as bad as what totalitarian regimes have already brought us. We certainly don’t need to revisit it on a global scale. Regardless of what Mr. Stone says or any ex-soviet says, totalitarian governments are not to be emulated regardless of how grand you may think your cause is.

  41. Douglas DC says:

    As more Natural Gas comes on line-and it will Dirty polluters like China clean up and they are, means that the main source of the polar melting goes away.
    Why do I see a “Fallen Angels ” scenario where we clean ourselves up into a major Ice age?…

  42. Phil M2. says:

    kwik says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Well, since we cannot thrust them on anything else, why thrust them on this?

    I thought we were the ones getting thrusted!

    Phil :-)

  43. netdr says:

    It is lot simpler and cheaper to remove soot than CO2. When attacking a problem t is vital to attack the right problem.

    I remember watching a science channel special about glaciers and the announcer seemed to be oblivious to the fact that the glaciers were BLACK !

    I wanted to shout at the announcer as he droned on and on about CO2 !

  44. Max Hugoson says:

    Stop Global Dumbing says:

    ““Also, black carbon plumes derived from fossil fuels were 100 percent more efficient at warming than were plumes arising from biomass burning.”

    Bah!

    NAS funded study. What more needs to be said?””

    Yes, as a former utility engineer, I would DEFY anyone to take samples from burning “baggese” (i.e., crop left overs) and that from burning pulverized coal.

    As a matter of FACT, the output from “pulverized coal” is completely mineral “fly ash” with NO black carbon. BLACK CARBON COMES FROM OFF STOICHEOMETRIC BURNING.

    ALL U.S. Coal plants are operated “excess air”. All U.S. coal plants are completely stoicheometric. Therefore NO “black carbon” from US coal plants.

    THIS IS A BOGUS CLAIM, period.

    I ought to darn well know this. Back in my Omaha days I supplied a researcher at the local natural gas company research center, a few hundred pounds of “fly ash” from our coal plants.

    He was kind enough to give us copies of their analysis (they were looking for precious metals and uranium), and those analyzes had the “total carbon” in the fly ash, which was essentially nil.

    Baggese, however, has a lot of water..and oft times can give you “incomplete combustion”. (Usually the output is put through BAG HOUSES as Electrostatic Precipts don’t do well with carbon particles.)

  45. ChrisZ says:

    PeteM,

    as long as the only place that’s “warmer than usual” is digital simulations and those phantastic “average global temp” curves, derived from data collected with constantly changing equipment (no matter if surface or satellite!) and thus without any believable connection with reality, you’ll largely find suggestions here what to do about these models and curves, as they do not describe a problem in the real world, but they ARE the problem! More generally, the problem is people believing in theoretical constructs even if (or more perversely: just because) they go contrary to what they are actually experiencing. I bet you personally have coped with temps in a range of 30 or more deg.C from highest to lowest, and so have all the animals and plants around you – how utterly ridiculous to assume that a change of, say, 2 or 3 deg.C is threatening or worrying in any way whatsoever! Get a life!!

  46. David Y says:

    Interesting, though I was expecting the article to mention or address the arguably more immediate and measurable impact of dark soot deposited on ice/snow (accelerated melt).

  47. Jim G says:

    I read somewhere that it was estimated that the Mt Pinatubo eruption put more ash, so2, florocarbons and a variety of other nasties (like soot) into the atmosphere in a few weeks than all that was produced by man since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Anyone ever see such an estimate? Bet it put it up there high enough that it lasted more than a week too. If I remember there was a cooling subsequent to that event as well. And as eruptions go, though it was big on recent scales, it was small in the absolute sense, like compared to Yellowstone when it goes off.

  48. Braddles says:

    Back in the 70s I visited the Athabasca glacier in Canada. Even back then it had been shrinking for decades (in spite of the fact that the fear du jour was a new Ice Age). Our tour guide was quite certain this was caused by industrial soot.

  49. Nasif Nahle says:

    The chance of absorbing IR photons by the carbon dioxide is quite low due to its exiguous mass fraction in the atmosphere.

    I have made the calculations and the mean free path for a photon without “touching” a molecule of carbon dioxide is 48.02 m. It means that the photon travels an average of 48.02 m without being absorbed by a molecule of CO2.

    The time the photon will take for leaving the atmosphere without “touching” a molecule of carbon dioxide is 0.411 seconds.

    Fortunately for living beings on Earth, there are lots of molecules of water vapor (10000 ppmV – 50000 ppmV), nitrogen (780000 ppmV) and oxygen (208000 ppmV), and dust particles (highly variable) and other substances, including microscopic living beings (ice nucleators), that intercept photons before they leave the Earth’s atmosphere.

  50. Alan Simpson not from Friends of the Earth says:

    When I first parsed this story, ( OK in the pub a bit the worst for wear ), I thought they were trying to get their excuses in early to explain the cooling of the next 18 – ? months.

    Now soot is to blame for global warming? Are we seeing an effort to blame developing economies for warming?

    What is this? ” A big boy did it and ran away”, type excuse?

    I sit here doing an “OMG Cat”, look it up on Youtube with the search words in the parentheses if you haven’t had a laugh recently.

  51. k winterkorn says:

    Ahhh! So over half of recent warming may be due to soot. But that means that more than half of recent warming may not be due to CO2. So the CO2-forcing equations need to be calibrated downward.

    Of course after taking out the UHI and airport siting effects on global temp measurements, not a whole lot of warming is left over. So how much CO2 warming can now be claimed as settled science?

  52. KLA says:

    …the rest is largely due to diesel exhaust in Europe and other regions relying on diesel transport

    Hello, has anybody actually looked at the exhaust of a modern diesel lately? Those modern diesels with particle filters (DPF), which have been mandatory for diesels in most of Europe since years, and soon in most of the US as well, do NOT produce soot particles in any appreciable quantities. The exhaust pipe inside color of those engines, is light grey to white, which would not be if they’d blow soot.
    With an atmospheric lifetime of those soot particles of ~ 1 week, and most of the Western World pretty close to eliminate soot production, it will be very hard to extort money from the West based on that.
    I think this study will quietly disappear for beeing too counterproductive to “the cause”.

  53. Billy Liar says:

    Marko says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I’m still waiting for critical thinkers to explain how methane, a “fossil” fuel, came to comprise much of Saturn’s moon Titan.

    You’re sharp! Perhaps it was the strong early sun paradox.

  54. Jim Barker says:

    Marko says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    As John mentions, H20?

    I’m still waiting for critical thinkers to explain how methane, a “fossil” fuel, came to comprise much of Saturn’s moon Titan.
    _____________________
    It must be the result of the Dinosaurs and their earlier exploration of the solar system:)

  55. Nasif Nahle says:

    PeteM says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I realise this web site is dedicted to finding any excuse for climate change other than human activity increasing greenhouse gases, but how much does the temperatue of this planet have to rise before we hear information here that recognises where the real problem is ?

    You realized wrong. I’m a reader of this blog since approximately three years and I only have found the purpose of this site and other “skeptic” sites, like Climate Realists, the Heartland Institute, I Love my Carbon Dioxide, Jo Nova, etc., is liberating the science of climate from myths and pseudoscience. In other words, to find authentic scientific answers to authentic natural phenomena.

  56. DirkH says:

    PeteM says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    “[...] but how much does the temperatue of this planet have to rise before we [...]”

    Here’s a question for you, PeteM: What is the temperature of the planet?

  57. latitude says:

    PeteM says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    I realise this web site is dedicted to finding any excuse for climate change other than human activity increasing greenhouse gases, but how much does the temperatue of this planet have to rise before we hear information here that recognises where the real problem is ?
    ==========================================================

    Pete, honest to God, if you know where the real problem is, please let us know!

    Atmo, that’s the first thing I thought too. I was looking for it too.
    Find it and post it, please…..

  58. tarpon says:

    There is a website that catalogs fires world wide using MODIS date … it’s called FireMapper … http://firefly.geog.umd.edu/firemap/

    Note that most of the fires are from third world countries burning agricultural land or making charcoal, according the the site. MODIS also provides details of fires worldwide.

  59. Marko says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    As John mentions, H20?

    I’m still waiting for critical thinkers to explain how methane, a “fossil” fuel, came to comprise much of Saturn’s moon Titan.
    ________________________Reply;
    below is an excerpt from comments I made over on tallbloke’s talkshop, that might give you an idea about all of the methane ended up on Titan..

    Now that the solar system seems stable, is the drive / drag in balance or just in a local calm spot for now, that is on the main sequence stage of it’s growth, and until disrupted by outside magnetic field disturbances or massive contributions of in falling additional mass.

    Once planet forming became stable, the elements found in the basic constituents of the planets were separated by radiation pressures of the solar wind, fractionally distilling the lighter, and more easily ionized elements / compounds to the realms of the outer gas giants and further out, leaving the free electrons to end up suspended on the outside of the Oort clouds as a Negative charge on the skin of the heliopause.

    I think that will explain the makeup of all of the outer planets, however the compensation of their moons seem to be clumps of condensed matter with radically different makeups, and may have been just captured whole by the outer planets, some as interlopers created and delivered from out side this solar system, or slung out in early stages and reintroduced late in planet forming.

    To cut to the quick it was the ongoing cleanup of the small particulate matter in the solar system, along with the actual particles pushed from the sun in the solar wind that resulted in the production of the late and still ongoing stages of planet production, leaving them with their resultant size and composition.

    rbateman says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    The solution to trap black soot:
    A water bath that the exhaust is passed through.
    It doesn’t get any simpler than that, if capturing carbon soot is what you are needing to do.
    ____________________Reply;
    over the past 9 years as a cnc machinist I have assisted in the parts production, for building almost a thousand completed units of centrifugal separators for particles, and soot and soluble gas scrubbers, using mist water spay heads in Stainless Steel housings, for new clean coal power plants and retrofit kits for old coal power plants, only three finished items were sent of China and one to India.

  60. Les Francis says:

    Here you go.

    A real black iceberg :

  61. jim karlock says:

    PeteM says: … but how much does the temperatue of this planet have to rise before we hear information here that recognises where the real problem is ?
    <b.JK: The temperature rise does not matter. Neither do cuddly polar bears, or melting ice, or floods, or droughts.

    None of this matters if the temperature increase was not man caused.

    So far no one has shown that man’s CO2 is increasing temperature. Al Gore lied when he said that CO2 increases preceded temperature increases when actually the ice cores show CO2 increases following temperature increases. That was the best evidence there ever was for man’s CO2 causing temperature increase and it was wrong. The other dramatic evidence, Mann’s hockey stick has been thoroughly debunked by McIntyre, by the NAS’ North report and by statistical experts (Wegman report).

    Now all the IPCC has is, in IPCC lead author Phil Jones words: The fact that we can’t explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing… (from http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm)

    In other words, they can’t figure out the cause, so it mus be man’s CO2.

    BTW, here are some more Phil Jones statements from that bbc interview:
    BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming
    CRU Head, Dr. Jones: Yes, but only just.

    BBC: Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?
    CRU Head, Dr. Jones: So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

    Why do you still believe in dangerous global warming? It is not unusual, it has stopped and it has never been shown to be man caused.

    Thanks
    JK

  62. H.R. says:

    I found this post to be quite sootable for mass consumption. (Ouch! Sorry.)

  63. Roger Knights says:

    If the greenies and their followers are howling “Do something,” then funding China & other countries with loans to install scrubbers on their coal-burning plants (and choo-choos?) would provide lots of bang for the buck and not bankrupt the world. A win-win solution?

  64. Grant Hillemeyer says:

    My God. The United States isn’t the biggest evil doer on the planet? Somebody pinch me. I knew all along that the Europeans were be blamed! (Just kidding, love all of you guys, and of course your food and cars) I traveled through Eastern Europe in 1984 as a young man and I remember being particularly shocked by the amount of Diesel soot in the cities. It was everywhere! Buildings were black with it, in downtown Budapest it could be seen hanging in the air in the streets. I figured that no one could afford to fix the things so they ran them til they wouldn’t go anymore. Anyway, I have an idea for a “green” cruise (White, really) during the summer months up north. Give all the passengers a scrub brush on a long pole. We’ll clean up them icebergs and save the planet!

  65. Jimbo says:

    /sarc on/
    This post is mistaken, it must be the trace gas co2. We are all doomed I tells ya!
    /sarc off/

    “Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos
    The “efficacy” of this forcing is ∼2, i.e., for a given forcing it is twice as effective as CO2 in altering global surface air temperature.” James Hansen – NASA :o)

    “A NASA-led study has found new evidence that a “heat pump” effect, driven by emissions of soot, or black carbon, contributes as much (or more) to atmospheric warming in the Himalayas as greenhouse gases.” NASA more…

    “…aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades.” NASA model :o(

    It all looks like rotten ice to me!

  66. Jimbo says:

    For our beloved Warmist friends who still don’t get it here it is in black and white. Meanwhile the Arctic continues in its death spiral while temperatures are close to boiling point.

    This is too easy!

  67. The collective we has been working to curtail particulates from all forms of combustion for decades. Not that more is not possible or desirable. It is not us they are taking about but those dirty Asians and other poor people around, you know that great unwashed mass of humanity that just wants to get enough to eat every day. This is one the ideologues can’t pin on most of Europe and N. A.

  68. atmoaggie says:

    Hey, latitude.

    This one about modeled sources and transport of soot:

    This one about the effect of the soot on albedo and total heat budget:

    And an update:

  69. atmoaggie says:

    And Jimbo beats me to them by minutes…

  70. DirkH says:

    Grant Hillemeyer says:
    July 29, 2010 at 6:23 pm
    “[...] a young man and I remember being particularly shocked by the amount of Diesel soot in the cities. It was everywhere! Buildings were black with it,[...]”

    Don’t confuse it with the exhaust from 2-stroke motors. They ran on a gasoline-oil mixture. The GDR’s Trabant. Diesel they had only for trucks.

  71. Jimbo says:

    I recall that the main argument used for co2 being the main driver of the late 20th century warming was because they could not think of anything else. I say think again and try a little Occam’s Razor instead of convoluted co2 forcing and positive feedback mechanisms.

  72. Jimbo says:

    David says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm
    Hmmmm, anyone recall the heavy soot production at the beginning of the industrial revolution? Where in the data does it indicate that huge amounts of soot produced in the the latter half of the 1700s and in the 1800s caused global warming?

    ——–
    Reply: What was the population in the 1700s and 1800s? How many cars were around then? Did we have electricity generating power plants? Blah, blah, blah…….

  73. Jimbo says:

    Dr. Dave says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    “…Since when is CO2 “the leading GHG”?
    —-
    If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth. Here is a little something about water vapour.

  74. Jimbo says:

    DirkH says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm
    ….AND omitting to tell us that black carbon has a lifetime of about a week.
    ——-
    Black carbon is being constantly released I think so its lifetime is irrelevant.

  75. kwik says:

    Roger Knights says:
    July 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    “If the greenies and their followers are howling “Do something,” then funding China & other countries with loans to install scrubbers on their coal-burning plants (and choo-choos?) would provide lots of bang for the buck and not bankrupt the world. A win-win solution?”

    I think you are right.

    Maybe ask Washington to demolish Al Gores new house by the ocean too.
    Just to follow the precautionary principle, you know?

  76. It's always Marcia, Marcia says:

    Co2 causes warming? If there were no other factors involved in the atmosphere it could. But in earth’s atmosphere adding co2 causes cooling not warming. If you want an atmosphere where co2 causes warming you’re going to have to go to a different planet.

  77. HK says:

    I’ve posted on this before, in the “Soot And The Arctic Ice – A Win-Win Policy Based On Chinese Coal Fired Power Plants” article (August 21, 2009), but I think it is worth repeating, because most people would not realise the extent to which there are cycles to China’s development, and when power plant building gets out of synch with those, there are power shortages (e.g. 2004) and the result is less efficient power production and more soot as people turn to diesel.

    It would not surprise me at all if there was a link between the recovery in sea ice extent since 2007 and the cleaning up of power production since about 2005 (I assume there is a lag, as the dirtied snow/ice needs to actually melt to get itself out of the system). Here is my earlier post:

    “This is a very worthwhile approach, but don’t just stop at coal-fired power. Also look at diesel.

    When China has power shortages (as in 2004) its factories turn to their backup diesel generators. These are inefficient, expensive to run, and very polluting, but they do have the advantage that they are on-site, so the factory’s operation can’t be affected by electricity rationing, as it would be if it was depending on the local grid.

    I have seen the effect of this in Hong Kong, which is just across the border from Guangdong, one of China’s manufacturing bases. There are lots of other things going on – e.g. Hong Kong’s own efforts to control vehicle pollution, Guangdong’s move up the value chain to less polluting manufacturing – and this is purely anecdotal – my personal experience of looking out of the window in 2004/2005 and thinking that the air was terrible and this was no place to raise children.

    However, what I can say – again purely anecdotally – is that the air improved shortly thereafter, and those improvements seemed to coincide with China sorting out its power shortages. Those power shortages ended by China getting more big coal-fired power stations online, so that factories could moth-ball their diesel generators.”

  78. Pascvaks says:

    It was only a matter of time before this type of thing would rise to the surface of the AGW cesspool. The plot all along was obvious, to eventually get to population reduction, and in a BIG way. What high density population countries create the most “manmade’ pollution? India and China!

    So, ippso facto, what’s the ultimate answer to the Anthroprogenic Global Warming problem? You guessed it! Population reduction in India and China. Huuuummm…. idiots need to be very careful about their ’causes’ and ‘crusades’, they sometimes have very severe unintended consequences, like getting themselves and a few billion other people killed in yet another World War.

    PS: I have to admit, the ‘solution’ they appear to be moving toward will definitely solve the AGW problem; wellllll… the ‘A’ in the AGW problem, in any case.

  79. dp says:

    There seems to be an error in this article, not that I wish to put a fine point on it, but that ice is actually made from the most common green house gas: Water. In fact the photo shows various phases of water: solid, liquid, and invisible gas.

    That is not to suggest that soot is not a problem.

  80. Theo Goodwin says:

    Another opportunity for a real farm boy. Back in the very early Sixties, I became responsible for two commercial “chicken houses” which together held 13,000 chickens until they were old enough to be broilers. I was twelve years old. I think there were ten large coal stoves in each house. Yep, I know soot. Actually, everyone with a little age knows soot. In 1950, most homes in the USA were heated by coal. I could have told everyone about the relative impact of soot on ice and snow. I could have told everyone about the relative danger of coal-fired industry in southeast China. But no one values experience any longer, just peer-reviewed articles and obscenely false movies. No Nobel for me.

  81. DirkH says:

    Jimbo says:
    July 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm
    “[...]Black carbon is being constantly released I think so its lifetime is irrelevant.”

    The lifetime can’t be irrelevant as it determines the amount of Black Carbon that accumulates. If the lifetime is such an irrelevant fact, this must also hold for the number they come up with – that it causes 0.6 times the “climate forcing” of CO2.
    They had space enough in their press release to tell us that they sampled the air between 100 and 15000 ft. They had space enough to suggest policies – which should not be their job; we have politicians for that.

    You know, i look at the information that they pack into their press release, and it is not about facts, it is not about science, it uses science for the primary purpose, and that purpose is agitprop – agitation and propaganda. If that is the job of universities these days, they surely have no business telling me the lifetime of Black Carbon, and you’re right, it’s irrelevant, it’s futile; we don’t even have to talk about Black Carbon here, why not just name it substance X.

  82. Jerry from Boston says:

    I hate it when people italicize their comments, but this is an occassion that calls for just such:

    There is something very wrong with the Greenie movement when they are concerned with the fate of 25,000 polar bears (who are STILL ALIVE!!), but they won’t address the 500,000-1,000,000 people who die from inhaled soot EACH YEAR (who are DEAD FOREVER!!!) while they cook their food or heat their hovels using animal dung or open wood fires, and the resultant soot may also be contributing to global warming and Arctic thawing. (And don’t get me started on the 500,000-2,000,000 people who die from malaria each year, and the untold newly-infected tens of millions in the developing world who end up suffering from malaria because of the DDT ban in those countries.)

    And old joke/question – do the enviros and liberals prefer penguins or people? Today, the answer is obvious.

    Sick.

  83. Jimbo says:

    PeteM says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    “….how much does the temperatue of this planet have to rise before we hear information here that recognises where the real problem is ?”

    What? What is the “real problem”? Is it this? I could go on and on but you need to examine your statement in light of a LOT of issues then come back and make your case.

  84. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Phil M2. says:
    July 29, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    kwik says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Well, since we cannot thrust them on anything else, why thrust them on this?

    I thought we were the ones getting thrusted!

    Phil :-)

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    LOL!

    In the end our votes will thrust them.

  85. Jimbo says:

    DirkH says:
    July 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm
    ———-
    I stand corrected, my bad.

  86. Spector says:

    Perhaps someone at the EPA should use Microsoft Word to change all occurrences of “Carbon Dioxide” and “CO2″ to “Black Carbon” in their recent pronouncements.

    Perhaps the real money is to be made in black carbon credit trading.

  87. Theo Goodwin says:

    PeteM says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    “….how much does the temperatue of this planet have to rise before we hear information here that recognises where the real problem is ?”

    It has to rise. It hasn’t. You believe all that statist propaganda. Poor dude.

  88. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    UI researcher finds black carbon implicated in global warming

    Are they finding any cooling? Because that’s what’s going on right now. Currently on a small scale, and for 1000’s of years on a large scale.

  89. crosspatch says:

    Carbon on ice is cumulative in many cases. Imagine you have a winter’s worth of precipitation that falls mixed with some small amount of carbon black. As the snow melts down, the carbon black will become concentrated on the surface. Now imagine another year’s precipitation. If the next summer melts down to the previous summer’s level, the carbon on the surface should be the sum of both years.

    In an area that retains snow but has significant melt back such as a glacier in a sub-polar region, it should be possible to find the record melt year recorded as a layer of significantly greater soot in a core section. You might not be able to tell exactly what year that was, but you should be able to tell how far we currently are from that record melt year. That probably only works for the period since we started burning significant amounts of coal but a record melt should have the accumulated soot from many years concentrated in one layer.

  90. Spector says:

    On the serious side, relative to CO2, I think black carbon is both a more plausible and a more easily controlled agent of anthropogenic weather modification. Perhaps some of us have a tendency to overestimate our ability to modify the climate of this planet. Right now, we do appear to be in the midst of a modest cooling phase. As with CO2, there could be undue black carbon alarmism.

  91. tallbloke says:

    “Increasing the ratio of black carbon to sulphate in the atmosphere increases climate warming”

    Serious logic and observation failure.
    For the last decade, the climate hasn’t been warming.

    Unless sulphates have been increasing too?

    “The paper also noted that soot and other forms of black carbon could equal up to 60 percent of the current global warming effect of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas.”

    So nothing much to worry about then, especially since according to this study, co2 has to give up a lot of the warming attributed to it in order to accomodate this new factor.

    How much soot comes from natural forest fires compared to human sources?

  92. Bill Jamison says:

    A study a few years ago by a team from the University of California Irvine (UCI) said that up to 50% of the warming in the Arctic was due to black carbon soot.

    The good news is that it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to reduce it! Now if we could just get China to adopt US EPA regulations for diesels….

  93. 899 says:

    Interesting.

    Back during the Medieval Climate Optimum (MCO), there were more people than previous, and during that time, people used wood, coal, peat, and dung for fires.

    Now, near the end of that period, there were more people than at the beginning, and as much is revealed by the grain market production figures and sales.

    Imagine all that carbon effluent put into the atmosphere!

    As the Earth began its Little Ice Age (LIA) phase, people of necessity burnt more of the carbon-based materials in order to keep warm.

    So, one must ask: With todays cleaner burning engines and with the advent of electricity-based appliances which require hardly any carbon-based fuels to generate electricity, what the actual carbon load is in the atmosphere, as opposed to the MCO and LIA periods.

    Now remember here, the amount of carbon emission back in the MCO was far higher than now —for the fuel sources used— yet there arrived the LIA.

    Imagine that: All that carbon in the air, and the Earth still sunk into a cold, miserable period, where many died of starvation, disease and exposure.

    So then, the modern take on the matter doesn’t square at all with the past history of things carbon soot.

    All the pictures in the world of carbon soot covered ice floes, doesn’t change the fact of what happened back then.

  94. jorgekafkazar says:

    Nasif Nahle says: “The chance of absorbing IR photons by the carbon dioxide is quite low due to its exiguous mass fraction in the atmosphere. I have made the calculations and the mean free path for a photon without “touching” a molecule of carbon dioxide is 48.02 m. It means that the photon travels an average of 48.02 m without being absorbed by a molecule of CO2. The time the photon will take for leaving the atmosphere without “touching” a molecule of carbon dioxide is 0.411 seconds.

    “Fortunately for living beings on Earth, there are lots of molecules of water vapor (10000 ppmV – 50000 ppmV), nitrogen (780000 ppmV) and oxygen (208000 ppmV), and dust particles (highly variable) and other substances, including microscopic living beings (ice nucleators), that intercept photons before they leave the Earth’s atmosphere.”

    Intriguing calculations, Nasif. I’m not sure I follow how you did these calcs, how far up you took as “atmosphere,” mean free path calculation, densities assumed, and so forth. If you have time, I’d be curious to see what your calculations come up with for infrared radiation into the ionosphere (for both quiet sun and noisy sun). Tell us more.

  95. jorgekafkazar says:

    H.R. says: “I found this post to be quite sootable for mass consumption. (Ouch! Sorry.)”

    You been snorting coke or something, HR?

  96. Grumbler says:

    “Marko says:
    July 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I’m still waiting for critical thinkers to explain how methane, a “fossil” fuel, came to comprise much of Saturn’s moon Titan.”

    that’s a big question for me too. no one seems to know. how odd?

    cheers David

  97. phlogiston says:

    Dirty Ice: Soot is three times more effective than carbon dioxide

    This assumes that we know how “effective” CO2 is – in warming climate. We dont know this to an order of magnitude, or even if it is effective at all.

    More examples of inductive, assumption built on assumption, house of cards “science”.

  98. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    I ask you all this simple question: Since 1900, where have the hundreds of billions of pounds of rubber and asphalt dust gone?

    The short simple answer is: Anywhere and everywhere! Every year the amount of this dust released into the enviroment keeps increasing.

    Try this: Take Post-It note and dab it on the dust on the top of your car until it doesn’t stick anymore. Then examine the dirty sticky strip with viewer with about 30x magnificaton. Note the enormous amount of tiny black particles. Also note numerous highly reflective particles which are probaby mica from the rocks in concrete.

    Another source of light-absorbing particles is metallic dust from disk rotors and brake drums as well as the rust that falls off cars and is ground to tiny particles by tires.

    In southern Caifornia the rubber and asphalt dust could act as an accelerant for brush fires. Homeowners there should probably wash off the roofs their houses before fire season.

    Since most major cities are located on the coasts of the continents, it would be of interest to determine concentration of these black particle in the ocean waters.

    Lastly, we city folks breath in the really tiny particles (5 microns<) of rubber and asplhalt dust, and these probably cause respiratory problems such as asthma in childern.

  99. tallbloke says:

    899 says:
    July 29, 2010 at 11:57 pm (Edit)

    Now remember here, the amount of carbon emission back in the MCO was far higher than now —for the fuel sources used— yet there arrived the LIA.

    Imagine that: All that carbon in the air, and the Earth still sunk into a cold, miserable period, where many died of starvation, disease and exposure.

    Remember the total world population was a lot lower then, and got even lower when the Black Death wiped out a 1/3 of the population of Europe in the C14th. But, the world had a lot more forests then too, so how many more tonnes of soot went into the atmosphere due to natural forest fires?

    Not so easy to determine these factors I would say.

  100. wayne Job says:

    I have just watched a video of Frank Zappa , he was unconcerned about black snow.
    The song title was “do not eat the yellow snow” good advice I feel.

    The shifting of the goal posts by both scientists and politicians is to be expected as the rugs keep being pulled out from under them. Real information and science keeps snookering them. They are trying to wiggle out, climate reality is check-mating them.
    Give them a few years and the cooling will cause many of them to ask for a grant to study the possibility of spreading carbon on the ice to warm our planet. Such is their integrity.

  101. 899 says:

    Harold Pierce Jr says:
    July 30, 2010 at 2:54 am
    I ask you all this simple question: Since 1900, where have the hundreds of billions of pounds of rubber and asphalt dust gone? [--snip rest for brevity--]

    Well, Harold, I will think that in total, it amounts to nought, inasmuch as the latter part of the decade of the 1960’s to the early 1970’s, there was an ‘Ice Age’ scare, and that even with all the dust you remark of.

    Now, if you must complain about the ‘black and reflective’ particles on the back of a Post-it™ note, how about you do this: Collect a bunch of it, send it to a lab to be analyzed for both chemical and spectrographic content, and then get back to us.

    Of course I’ll be willing to bet that much of the ‘dust’ you collect will be natural detritus from plants, animals, and humans as well.

  102. 899 says:

    tallbloke says:
    July 30, 2010 at 2:55 am
    Remember the total world population was a lot lower then, and got even lower when the Black Death wiped out a 1/3 of the population of Europe in the C14th. But, the world had a lot more forests then too, so how many more tonnes of soot went into the atmosphere due to natural forest fires?

    Not so easy to determine these factors I would say.

    That is very true regarding the population. But again: The only things they burned were what was available, and I neglected to mention whale and olive oil, turpentine, and few other distillates of ancient origin. But largely speaking, it was wood, coal, peat and dung.

    Additionally, farming practices back then called for the burning of fields at the end of the harvest.

    So everybody alive was burning things, including nature, as you state.

    Heck, when I was a youngster, people would rake leaves into a pile in the autumn, and set fire to them. It was a memorable occasion, and I can just recall that odor, as it marked the yearly passage of time: Almost Thanksgiving.

  103. Joe Lalonde says:

    Anthony,
    Do you find it not strange that natural occurances such as the millions of acres each year from forest fires generating soot and volcanic ash was not included?

  104. Sabretruthtiger says:

    What a load of Soot! The fact is there is still no discernable human signal in the climate trend, the climate has been warming steadily for 300 years since the Maunder Minimum (before human influence) and cooled or levelled off in the past 8-9 years. The 1980-2001 incline has occurred many times before even before the turn of the century well before heavy industry.

    Once again they claim positive feedbacks like this supposed soot induced polar melting that should theoretically accelerate GW exponentially, but, surprise surprise! It hasn’t happened!

    CO2 feedbacks are empirically and logically zero to negative due to increased relative humidity in the upper troposphere due to warming based subsidence causing less water vapour at the emission level, thus more outgoing longwave radiation and thus less warming. There is also the albedo effect from warming induced low level cloud that cools the planet.
    The water system creates counterbalances to GHG effects and neither soot nor CO2 has warmed the planet significantly, one just needs to look at the climate record, before tampering by corrupt scientists that is.

  105. Martin Brumby says:

    “They said that coal and cow dung-fueled cooking fires in China and India produce about one-third of black carbon; the rest is largely due to diesel exhaust in Europe and other regions relying on diesel transport.”

    Well, it has already been pointed out on here that even reasonably efficient coal fired power stations produce NO soot. Likewise even reasonably efficient diesel engines. (Just try driving a diesel with sooty exhaust in the UK and see how long it is before the cops pull you over).

    So that leaves “cow dung-fueled cooking fires”. Not many of them in Europe or the US.

    This is most inconvenient as it is supposed to be the developed world that’s to blame for Global Warming (and much else besides). What do the Warmistas suggest for those third world countries burning too much cow dung?

    Obvious! “Let them eat salad!”

  106. Dave Springer says:

    I’ve been harping about black carbon (soot) for years. I grew up in western New York in house next to what was, at the time, a city street that was also Route 17, a major artery for east/west traffic through the state. Constant stream of 18-wheelers belching diesel exhaust.

    The snowbanks near the road were actually pristine most of the winter but when they started to melt they turned black on top.

    Then I lived near the coast in Southern California for the next 20 years. That was in the 1970’s and 1980’s before they got serious about cleaning up the air. Anything a light color left outside gradually turned black over a few years as it accumulated soot. Outside window sills painted white largely protected from rain by overhead eaves would turn just about black.

    I’m not sure why the author of the article featured in the OP called black carbon particles “short lived”. These things live as long as conditions allow them to live. In the case of snow they live until the snow is completely melted.

    See, the thing about black carbon particles is that they float. If you have a partial melt all the soot that is distributed through the depth of the snow (fresh snowfall covers up whatever accumulated since the last snowfall) floats to the top as the snow melts and gets darker and darker until it looks like that iceberg pictured in the OP. If it isn’t a complete melt then there it stays in a concentrated top layer.

    Soot can travel from its source up to several thousand kilometers from its source depending on winds and so forth. That’s just far enough to travel from major sources in the northern hemisphere to the arctic. Major sources include slash & burn agriculture, coal, diesel, wood used for heating and cooking, and so forth – basically any complex hydrocarbon substance that is ignited.

    In 1963 the United States passed “The Clean Air Act” which over the course of the next few decades drastically reduced soot emissions.

    The rub in acknowledging the major role soot plays in the melting of northern hemisphere glaciers and sea ice and contributing to earlier springs as winter snowmelt is accelerated is that you can’t blame the United States for any of it anymore.

    See, global warming is a political movement not a scientific one. Much of the world wants to make the United States a scapegoat for it. Since we cleaned up our act with regard to particulate pollutants like sulfates and soot, and gases like ozone and carbon monoxide, while few other nations enacted (eg. Europe has a long standing love affair with diesel engines) measures to clean up the air then that left carbon dioxide as the only thing they could use to pin the blame on the USA since we are admittedly still a leading source of it. China recently took over the title of being the biggest CO2 emitter in the world however.

    So that’s the story of soot and why it isn’t highlighted in the global war against global warming – soot isn’t a politically correct causative factor even though it’s a scientifically correct one.

  107. JimB says:

    (Just try driving a diesel with sooty exhaust in the UK and see how long it is before the cops pull you over).

    I don’t think you can eliminate the impact of diesel just based on law enforcement in the UK, not when you’ve got a pretty large area not far from you in the form of Russia, where I’m willing to bet sooty exhaust is pretty common :)

    JimB

  108. JimB says:

    The reason I mentioned that I liked the article in Wired better, from a different researcher, is it has quotes like this in it:
    ““Soot has such a strong climate effect, but it has a lifetime in the atmosphere of just a few weeks. Carbon dioxide has a lifetime of 30 to 50 years. If you totally stop CO2 emissions today, the Arctic will still be totally melted,” said Stanford University climate scientist Mark Jacobson. If soot pollution is immediately curtailed, “the reductions start to occur pretty much right away. Within months, you’ll start seeing temperature differences.”

    So apparently, we’ve already lost the Arctic. I had no idea…Does Al know about this?
    Maybe someone needs to send the author a link to the IcePage at WUWT? :)

    JimB

  109. This report confirms earlier studies on the melting of glaciers in the eastern Himalayas, caused by soot emissions from China and India. Soot (from Europe, USA and Russia) is also likely to be a major cause of increased ice melting in the Arctic and West Greenland. Contrast these areas with the near industry-free Antarctic, where ice is clearly on the increase.

  110. John from CA says:

    From the IPCC website:
    Soot
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/annex1sglossary-p-z.html
    Particles formed during the quenching of gases at the outer edge of flames of organic vapours, consisting predominantly of carbon, with lesser amounts of oxygen and hydrogen present as carboxyl and phenolic groups and exhibiting an imperfect graphitic structure. See Black carbon; Charcoal (Charlson and Heintzenberg, 1995, p. 406).

    Black carbon (BC) Operationally defined aerosol species based on measurement of light absorption and chemical reactivity and/or thermal stability; consists of soot, charcoal and/or possible light-absorbing refractory organic matter (Charlson and Heintzenberg, 1995, p. 401).

    Charcoal Material resulting from charring of biomass, usually retaining some of the microscopic texture typical of plant tissues; chemically it consists mainly of carbon with a disturbed graphitic structure, with lesser amounts of oxygen and hydrogen (Charlson and Heintzenberg, 1995, p. 402). See Black carbon; Soot.

    Ok, so how does this relate to Climate Change?
    Climate change Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes. See also Climate variability; Detection and Attribution.

    Ok, given that “Soot” does not “persist for an extended period, typically decades or longer” and it is not solely caused by human activities. What percentage of “Soot” should we monitor so we can properly TAX individuals who burn Cow and Camel droppings and BBQ on the weekends?

    Who is going to do the monitoring? It isn’t going to be the EPA — they have trouble reading English these days so it would be a huge waste of taxpayer funding.

  111. CO2 Feeds Us All says:

    If this is verified, it’ll be a handy tool to hold the ice sheets back when the next Ice Age begins in a century or two.

  112. John from CA says:

    … scratching head wondering how IPCC can define an aerosol species — I’m seeing a remake of The Blob; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051418/news#ni3104198 — I may be missing something obvious?

    from IPCC Glossary:
    Black carbon (BC) Operationally defined aerosol species based on measurement of light absorption and chemical reactivity and/or thermal stability; consists of soot, charcoal and/or possible light-absorbing refractory organic matter (Charlson and Heintzenberg, 1995, p. 401).

  113. DD More says:

    Let’s remember a past post here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/08/25/greenland-ice-core-reveals-history-of-pollution-in-the-arctic-but-theres-a-twist-it-was-worse-100-years-ago/

    Ice cores on Greenland showed peak soot levels in 1910! Time frame from 1850-1950 much higher than today’s levels.

    Tailbloke, how about using Alpine ice cores to get a glimmer of the levels. They seem to show total levels very high back in the 1700’s, which I am led to believe were not all that hot.
    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:tXkjeYK3pTcJ:www.atmos-chem-phys.net/6/5381/2006/acp-6-5381-2006.pdf+%22ice+core%22+Soot+level+history+alps&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjPmcfLyXfnoxFE5Iiy4NAde7sYS4Did7SXHcLaYFvsWEV33yKotBJXKRiOJd1d–pcQC3aH1YXf6Q4a_YPrkNd4nzlP_D9xmxKNu0yjl9Rs21DO5LKsubkqZa4hshQprZjQKav&sig=AHIEtbQdPJ80_JLNEZ8WoQyBi022Dn_XDA

    Maybe these professors need to apply a little history lesson before presenting their papers.

  114. I find a thin layer of powered black peat on top of the snow clears the driveway better than salt and with no harmful chemical after effects to the soil.

  115. Ed Caryl says:

    I actually agree with this article. Soot can be seen on the surface of many glaciers at the end of summer. It is the reason for glacier recession in Europe, Asia, Alaska, Canada, and Southern Greenland. Just check a few glacier pictures in Google images. CO2? No. Soot? Yes.

  116. Dave Springer says:

    John from CA says:
    July 30, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Ok, given that “Soot” does not “persist for an extended period, typically decades or longer” and it is not solely caused by human activities.

    Soot persists for decades on permanent snow cover. Human activities within a few thousand kilometers of major sources in the northern hemisphere contribute much of it. The only natural source is forest fires.

    Europe is largest consumer of diesel fuel by a wide margin and accounts for almost a third of worldwide consumption. Asia is the number two consumer. North America is number three.

    world total = 763 billion liters per year (2005)

    europe = 225 billion liters
    asia = 183 billion liters
    north america = 162 billion liters

    http://earthtrends.wri.org/searchable_db/results.php?years=all&variable_ID=817&theme=6&country_ID=all&country_classification_ID=all

  117. Dave Springer says:

    Europe area = 10 million square kilometers
    Europe diesel use = 225 billion liters

    Europe burns 22,500 liters of diesel per square kilometer each year.

    North America area = 25 million square kilometers
    North America diesel use = 162 billion liters

    North America burns 6,480 liters of diesel per square kilometer each year

    Any questions?

  118. Dave Springer says:

    “Ice cores on Greenland showed peak soot levels in 1910! Time frame from 1850-1950 much higher than today’s levels.”

    Yup. Heating and cooking all wood and coal. Industrial processes powered by steam engines with wood/coal fueled boilers. Slash & burn agriculture. London was notoriously sooty back then to such an extent it’s a wonder anyone could breathe the air for long without dying of some chronic lung impairment. It’s better now but soot is still a problem and that soot trapped in glaciers is still trapped there waiting for surface melt to get deep enough to free it so it floats and concentrates on the surface. Partial glacier melt has a positive feedback associated with it in the form of soot that’s been continuously deposited in them for the past two centuries or more.

  119. Dave Springer says:

    “Hello, has anybody actually looked at the exhaust of a modern diesel lately?”

    Sure. I drive a full size 4WD pickup truck (~6000 pounds unloaded) with a 6-liter Cummins 24-valve turbo diesel. 16mpg city, 22mpg highway. Burns ultra-low sulfur fuel (that’s all that’s sold in US these days) but that only cleans up NOx. The engine was manufactured in 1999. I have 80,000 miles on it. The mean time between rebuilds for that motor is 300,000 miles.

    The inside of the exhaust pipe has a layer of soot in it that is as black as black gets. But you can’t see the exhaust coming out of the pipe. Its exhaust is quite invisible except in cold weather but that’s not soot in cold weather it’s mostly water vapor.

    The thing about diesel motors is the suckers last forever and as they age they become less efficient except for the initial break-in period where for the first 25,000 miles they become more efficient. My fuel consumption improved about 15% over that period. So what you end up is a huge number of diesels that were manufactured decades ago still in service today and becoming bigger soot sources with every additional hour they run.

    Even modern high tech diesels like mine with a low number of operating hours on them still produce far more soot than gasoline engines.

  120. 899 says:

    Dave Springer says:
    July 31, 2010 at 6:16 am
    [--snip for brevity--] It’s better now but soot is still a problem and that soot trapped in glaciers is still trapped there waiting for surface melt to get deep enough to free it so it floats and concentrates on the surface. Partial glacier melt has a positive feedback associated with it in the form of soot that’s been continuously deposited in them for the past two centuries or more.

    So, Dave Springer, do tell: How is it that carbon which is trapped in the ice will magically concentrate all in one place and cause ‘global warming,’ instead of say, get washed away with all of the other deposits which have lain just as dormant?

    Are you possessing of knowledge which shows that the deposited carbon has such magical properties?

    And by the way: Just how does carbon manage that other magical feat of producing a –ahem– positive feedback when it possess no ability to amplify anything in any way?

    Does the carbon atom come equipped with a built-in energy amplifier?

    Enquiring minds want to know!

  121. Brian D says:

    There are quite a few forest fires going in Siberia. You can see in the Arctic Terra sat images the smoke is being transported into the Arctic pretty heavily today.

  122. 899 says:

    Dave Springer says:
    July 31, 2010 at 6:54 am
    [--snip for brevity--] Even modern high tech diesels like mine with a low number of operating hours on them still produce far more soot than gasoline engines.

    What about modern volcanoes, or forest fires, or …

    Actually, you’re essentially incorrect about Diesels become less efficient after about 25K miles.

    I have an IH Scout II with a Nissan 3.3 ltr Diesel. It was made in 1980. It still gets 26 mpg, and it has OVER 200K miles on it.

  123. 899 says:

    Richard Holle says:
    July 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm
    I find a thin layer of powered black peat on top of the snow clears the driveway better than salt and with no harmful chemical after effects to the soil.

    Well, I dunno, Richard, seeing as how when the temperature here in western Washington, US of A, is below freezing, your idea wouldn’t work nearly as well as a good snow shovel, and it would take far longer.

    We get ‘dirty snow’ here, and the ‘dirty’ doesn’t help melt the snow, save when the temperatures would melt it otherwise, even without the dirty.

  124. Axel Morris says:

    Usually I am 250% suspicious of these sorts of sweeping statements which include such exact and rounded percentages. Genuine empirical experiments would not yield such figures. Fatuous oafs are the likely authors of such figures. Real experiment might yield figures of 87.23% or something like that, if it were veridical.

  125. Dave Springer says:

    @899

    Soot floats on water. Write that down.

    Soot constantly settles out of the air onto snow cover.

    Fresh snow covers previously settled soot.

    When snow melts the soot that was distributed through it stays behind, because it floats, getting darker and darker as the melt progresses.

    It is a positive feedback because as it makes the surface darker more insolation is absorbed (you may or may not be aware that dark things get warmer than light things in the sunlight) and that accelerates the melt rate.

    If there is not a complete melt with all the snow & ice gone then the soot stays behind on top of the snow that didn’t melt.

    Which part of that do you not understand?

    re; your diesel w/200,000 miles that has not declined in performance

    Wonderful. But unless it’s made of magic metal that doesn’t wear its performance will decline. Cam lobes and tops of intake & exhaust valve stems that ride on them will wear. Compression rings on the piston will wear. Cylinder sleeves will wear. Carbon deposits accumulate in the combustion chamber. All these will eventually result in a decrease in performance. Maybe not noticeable at 200,000 miles as that’s not a lot of miles for a diesel. Get back to me when it has 400,000 miles on it.

  126. Dave Springer says:

    @899

    P.S. I also have a 3-liter diesel in a John Deere tractor. It’s a 1987 model year with about 1800 hours on it. Unlike my pickup truck the soot coming out the exhaust is dense at times mostly in the lag time between change in throttle setting and change in engine RPM. It has always done that since it was new. Actually it was worse when it was new. The break-in period for diesels is quite a bit longer than for gasoline engines. There is also a great difference in emission standards between commercial diesels (large trucks, busses, agricultural equipment, construction equipment) and light passenger vehicles these days although my truck is still exempt from annual emission testing whereas gasoline passenger vehicles get a probe up the tailpipe in their annual mandatory state inspection. I’d be very interested in how undesireable emissions increase with age. Performance can actually increase as emission control devices become less effective because all emission control schemes rob some engine performance as they do their job. It’s probably safe to say you don’t have a record of annual emission tests for your vehicle.

  127. Dave Springer says:

    p.p.s. @899

    re; volcano soot

    Soot is organic (carbon based) and comes from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons.

    Volcanoes don’t produce soot. Volcanoes produce ash. Big difference. Volcanic ash is lighter in color and heavier than water as it is composed of very small particles of rock, minerals, and glass.

    The only significant natural source of soot is grass, brush, and forest fires. In the natural state (no human fire suppression) fires intense enough to consume living plant matter are rare. Natural decomposers such as insects, fungi, protists, and bacteria quickly make dead plant matter non-combustible after a few years. Natural fires tend to be grass and light brush which aren’t intense enough to ignite forest canopies or even kill larger trees and sweep away any easily combustable materials close to the ground before it can accumulate to the point where it can result in an intense blaze.

  128. 899 says:

    Dave Springer says:
    August 1, 2010 at 6:48 am
    Soot floats on water. Write that down.

    Correction: SOME soot floats on water.
    Dave Springer says:
    August 1, 2010 at 6:48 am
    Soot constantly settles out of the air onto snow cover.

    And so doesn’t pollen, feathers, dung, etc. Now what?
    Dave Springer says:
    August 1, 2010 at 6:48 am
    Fresh snow covers previously settled soot.

    See my remarks above.

    Dave Springer says:
    August 1, 2010 at 6:48 am
    When snow melts the soot that was distributed through it stays behind, because it floats, getting darker and darker as the melt progresses.
    No, it doesn’t. Rather, it gets carried away with the melt, just as does pollen, feathers, dung, etc.

    You seem inclined to believe that soot magically stays in one place, like a refrigerator magnet …

    Dave Springer says:
    August 1, 2010 at 6:48 am
    It is a positive feedback because as it makes the surface darker more insolation is absorbed (you may or may not be aware that dark things get warmer than light things in the sunlight) and that accelerates the melt rate.
    Patronizing, are you?

    Dave Springer says:
    August 1, 2010 at 6:48 am
    If there is not a complete melt with all the snow & ice gone then the soot stays behind on top of the snow that didn’t melt. Which part of that do you not understand?
    What part don’t YOU understand about: Just because there’s carbon black on snow and ice, that such won’t go into thermal overload and proceed to dissipate?

    If carbon on snow and ice is supposed to be a real problem, then why isn’t all that polar ice and the glaciers melting into oblivion?

    Dave Springer says:
    August 1, 2010 at 6:48 am
    re; your diesel w/200,000 miles that has not declined in performance

    Wonderful. But unless it’s made of magic metal that doesn’t wear its performance will decline. Cam lobes and tops of intake & exhaust valve stems that ride on them will wear. Compression rings on the piston will wear. Cylinder sleeves will wear. Carbon deposits accumulate in the combustion chamber. All these will eventually result in a decrease in performance. Maybe not noticeable at 200,000 miles as that’s not a lot of miles for a diesel. Get back to me when it has 400,000 miles on it.
    Is that before it’s first overhaul? Or are you possessing of a ‘magical’ engine, as you mention above?

    Pre-oilers do wonders for engines. Got one?

  129. 899 says:
    July 31, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Richard Holle says:
    July 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm
    I find a thin layer of powered black peat on top of the snow clears the driveway better than salt and with no harmful chemical after effects to the soil.

    Well, I dunno, Richard, seeing as how when the temperature here in western Washington, US of A, is below freezing, your idea wouldn’t work nearly as well as a good snow shovel, and it would take far longer.
    ____________________________Reply;
    I have 120 yards of driveway I am 63 I have no intention of using a shovel to clear snow in excess of 10″ in depth, (less than that my 4Wdrive needs no shoveling) a 50# bag of black peat will speed up the removal by a week, with almost no work.
    Live in North Central Kansas 3/4 mile off of blacktop.

  130. Emil says:

    are the Himalayas the main source of soot in India, or does the soot stop at the Himalayas and cannot cross over into Tibet ? From the video it looks that way.

    … and for August and September the direction of the winds seems wrong, shouldn’t it blow from SW to NE ?

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