Blue sky research reveals trends in air pollution, clears way for new climate change studies

Aerosol pollution over India

Aerosol pollution over China

These two satellite images show how aerosols can obscure the land and sea beneath, blocking incoming sunlight. On the top, aerosols over northeastern India and Bangladesh partially obscure the Ganges River and then are swept out over the Bay of Bengal. Notice how the high-altitude air over the Himalayas, near the top of the image, is clearer. On the bottom, smoke from dozens of fires (left side of image) in China swirls down along valleys and then out over Bo Hai Bay (upper right) on its way towards Korea and the Pacific Ocean.

Credits: Images courtesy of Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC. Text from UCAR’s page on aerosols here.

From Ascribe Newswire

COLLEGE PARK, Md, March 12 — A University of Maryland-led team has compiled the first decades-long database of aerosol measurements over land, making possible new research into how air pollution changes affect climate change.

Using this new database, the researchers show that clear sky visibility over land has decreased globally over the past 30 years, indicative of increases in aerosols, or airborne pollution. Their findings are published in the March 13 issue of Science.

“Creation of this database is a big step forward for researching long-term changes in air pollution and correlating these with climate change,” said Kaicun Wang, assistant research scientist in the University of Maryland’s department of geography and lead author of the paper. “And it is the first time we have gotten global long-term aerosol information over land to go with information already available on aerosol measurements over the world’s oceans.”

Wang, together with Shunlin Liang, a University of Maryland professor of geography, and Robert Dickinson, a professor of geological science at the University of Texas, Austin, created a database that includes visibility measurements taken from 1973 – 2007 at 3,250 meteorological stations all over the world and released by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Visibility was the distance a meteorological observer could see clearly from the measurement source. The more aerosols present in the air, the shorter the visibility distance.

According to the researchers, the visibility data were compared to available satellite data (2000-2007), and found to be comparable as an indicator of aerosol concentration in the air. Thus, they conclude, the visibility data provide a valid source from which scientists can study correlations between air pollution and climate change.

Aerosols, Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change

Aerosols are solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in air. They include soot, dust and sulfur dioxide particles, and are what we commonly think of when we talk about air pollution. Aerosols come, for example, from the combustion of fossil fuels, industrial processes, and biomass burning of tropical rainforests. They can be hazardous to both human health and the environment.

Aerosol particles affect the Earth’s surface temperature by either reflecting light back into space, thus reducing solar radiation at Earth’s surface, or absorbing solar radiation, thus heating the atmosphere. The variable cooling and heating effects of aerosols also modify properties of cloud cover and rainfall.

Unlike aerosol particles, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are transparent and have no effect on visibility. Sunlight passes right through them, just as it does through the oxygen and nitrogen that are the main constituents of our atmosphere. Though present in the atmosphere in relatively small amounts, greenhouse gases cause global warming because these “trace” gases trap solar energy absorbed at the earth’s surface and prevent it from being radiated as heat back into space.

While the climate warming impacts of increased greenhouse gases are clear, the effects of increased aerosols are not. Studies of the long-term effects of aerosols on climate change have been largely inconclusive up to now due to limited over-land aerosol measurements, according to Wang and his team. However, with this database researchers now can compare temperature, rainfall and cloud cover data from the past 35 years with the aerosol measurements in the new database.

Global Dimming

According to the authors, a preliminary analysis of the database measurements shows a steady increase in aerosols over the period from 1973 to 2007. Increased aerosols in the atmosphere block solar radiation from the earth’s surface, and have thus caused a net “global dimming.” The only region that does not show an increase in aerosols is Europe, which has actually experienced a “global brightening,” the authors say.

The largest known source of increased aerosols is increased burning of fossil fuels. And a major product of fossil fuel combustion is sulfur dioxide. Thus, the team notes, that their finding of a steady increase in aerosols in recent decades, also suggests an increase in sulfate aerosols. This differs from studies recently cited by the Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change showing global emissions of sulfate aerosol decreased between 1980 and 2000.

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54 thoughts on “Blue sky research reveals trends in air pollution, clears way for new climate change studies

  1. OK, we need a common glossary of terms.
    Air pollution regulation focuses on HC and NOx as precursers of photochemical SMOG, and control of particulate matter of various sizes from 10 to 2.5. All of these air contaminants are byproducts of combustion. The SMOG portion is a photochemical cloud of very nasty byproducts resulting from atmospheric mixing of VOC/NOx in the presence of solar energy. As distinguished from SMOKE and its particulate-rich haze of partially burned materials.
    Aerosols seems to be a much more inclusive term. Would someone care to set the table? Are we talking about SMOG, SMOKE, HAZE, MIST?

  2. Isn’t it a shame that governments worldwide are gearing up and spending their resources to go after CO2 “pollution” rather than real pollution like PM, HC, Pb, low level O3 and so forth. There is technology to take care of these real pollutants as evidenced by the ever improving air quality in the US even if we do emit 25% of the worlds CO2. Ill take CO2 over criteria pollutants any day. At what point do those in India China and elsewhere in the developing world tell us to shove off because of our CO2 hysteria. While they are at it, they may also tell us to shove off with real pollutant control systems which would actually do some good.
    Back in ’96 I sat in a Chinese bus with yellow ash falling on me from the nearby power plant in Jinan. When I came back to the US and to LA none the less I just couldn’t believe how clean our “dirty skies” are. Bring on the CO2… especially if it helps us clean up real pollution.
    BTW Viva Anthony! This is a great site. Keep up the good work!

  3. It would be ironic if climate scientists confirm that aerosols cause cooling. Encourage “global dimming” by burning more fossil fuels!

  4. Everything is caused by C02.
    Global Warming, Global Cooling, Global Dimming, Global Brightening.
    Forget about takling the real pollutants, or the particulates, or the chemical spills, that is too easy.
    Do something impossible.
    Get stupid.
    Yes, that’s the ticket.
    Global Stupidity.
    You’re getting sleepy…

  5. Colorless, odorless, slight taste of acid.
    Plants love it.
    CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas, it the gas the Green eats.
    Plant food.
    Now, why would you want to starve all plant life?
    Tired of living is my guess.
    So next time I want to increase the growth in my greenhouse, I should pop open a Coke or a Pepsi.

  6. Let them pollute. At this point, increased affluence is saving and extending FAR more lives than are being lost to pollution. Give it a decade or three–they will have become affluent and that equation will have reversed itself. Then they’ll clean up in the same manner and for the same reasons in industrialized west did. For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.
    If they are coerced into signing any stupid treaty, I would heartily encourage them to violate it–ignore it completely. For the Children.

  7. Everything is caused by C02.
    “Everything
    Everything
    Everything gives you cancer
    Everything gives you cancer
    There’s no cure, there’s no answer”

  8. Now wait a second. I’m no expert but haven’t I read at WUWT multi-numerously that aeroosols COOL, at least in the super-computed CC Models?
    I’m sure I’ve read that aerosols are a counter-forcing negatory feedback factor, and in fact without them all the CCM’s would have blown up long ago. Why, if not for aerosols the world’s oceans would have boiled away in the Eocene, at least according to the mysterious CODE written in proto-Fortran that is the medulla oblongata of IPCC models.
    Moreover, don’t volcanos spew forth gobs of aerosols? Haven’t biggish eruptions like Pinatubo cooled the globe rather emphatically, surmounting even the vaunted El Nino?
    I feel sorry for those choking Bangladeshis, but don’t they understand that without those greasy brown aerosols they’d all be treading water?
    I mean, if COOLING the planet is such a grand idea, so important that we bleed trillions in taxes in paganous symbolic gesture, why not air pollute like crazy instead? Fire up the teepee burners, fill the smokestacks, rip out the automobile catalytic converters and chuff, baby chuff?
    Personally, I am in favor of warming the planet. I don’t see any upside to cooling this rock down. But that’s just me, iconclast and outre contrarian such as I am. Billions of huddled masses yearn for a cooler world, including the sagacious Political Elite. So give it to them. Particulate the airsheds today!
    Unless aerosols warm the globe, too, as the article implies, or they might, or we just don’t know, or the CCM have it backasswards, or something is screwy in Denmark, or huh, whatever?
    Let’s have it both ways. Why not?

  9. Silly naive question. (aha!) Why does the sky look blue when you look up, lightening the black night sky; but it doesn’t blue out the blackness of the oceans, even though it’s the same thickness?

  10. Robert Bateman (21:53:38) :
    Everything is caused by C02.

    Do something impossible.
    Get stupid.
    Yes, that’s the ticket.
    Global Stupidity.
    You’re getting sleepy…

    you have to have a party
    when you’re in a state like this
    you can really move it all
    you have to vote and change
    you have to get right out of it
    like out of all this mess
    you’ll say yeah to anything
    if you believe all this but
    don’t cry, don’t do anything
    no lies, back in the government
    no tears, party time is here again
    president gas is up for president
    line up, put your kisses down
    say yeah, say yes again
    stand up, there’s a head count
    president gas on everything but roller skates
    it’s sick the price of medicine
    stand up, we’ll put you on your feet again
    open up your eyes
    just to check that you’re asleep again
    president gas is president gas again
    -Psychedelic Furs 1982-

  11. atmospheric aerosols could either warm or cool the atmosphere depending upon the size, distribution and optical properties. Of all the climatic elements, temperature plays a major role in detecting climatic change brought about by urbanization and industrialization. This paper, therefore, attempts to study temporal variation in temperature over Pune city, India, during the period 1901–2000. The long-term change in temperature has been evaluated by Mann–Kendall rank statistics and linear trend. The analysis reveals significant decrease in mean annual and mean maximum temperature. This decrease in temperature is more pronounced during the winter season, which can be ascribed to a significant increase in the amount of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the ambient air during the last decade. On the contrary, monsoon season shows warming. This warming can be attributed to a significant increase in the low cloud amount.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VH3-4H68T8S-2&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=0419d93ad49cf24bdd1bb4a69bc7d2c9
    BTW, temperature changes over the last 50 to 100 years seems linked to low cloud levels.
    Global data showing temperature trends by humidity level may well be the ‘smoking gun’ for aerosols being the primary cause of the observed warming.

  12. cite=”While the climate warming impacts of increased greenhouse gases are clear, the effects of increased aerosols are not.”>cite
    Statement part 1, I think there might be a degree of disagreement with.
    Part 2 should be interesting, we’ll have one side arguing that this means that once this pollution is cleared up (Naturally by taxing something or other), then we’ll have a planet resembling that shown in that great film “Waterworld” crossed with a sauna. The other side will say that we’ll have a somewhat extended skiing season.

  13. “the researchers show that clear sky visibility over land has decreased globally” is a really lousy sample of English. It is utterly ambiguous because “globally” might mean “everywhere on the globe” [or approximately so] or it may be intended to mean “averaged over the globe”.

  14. Just Want Truth… (21:03:57) :

    I watched the vids. Oh my God, I feel sorry for those kids!
    As to the post, I guess climate change has it covered. What’s
    next: Up means down and right means left! All, and I mean
    all of these people live in different reality. They are really
    screwed up!

  15. Lucy Skywalker (00:13:26) :
    Silly naive question. (aha!) Why does the sky look blue when you look up, lightening the black night sky; but it doesn’t blue out the blackness of the oceans, even though it’s the same thickness?

    I always thought that was to do with the way inbound light the atmosphere refracts through the scattering of molecules. My suggestion is lightning would be outbound light and perhaps is such a small source of light compared to the sun, the scattering effect of molecules is minimal. I have seen a lot of pictures of lightning where the outer fringes of the light are blue though. Here are some photo examples although they could be taken through filters;
    one
    two
    three
    four
    five

  16. From my experience in developing countries I wonder how much of these aerosols are due to fossil fuels and how much are due to burning wood and trash. In Nicaragua one of the reasons they cut down the rain forests is to get fuel to cook with, and the wood makes a lot of smoke. In Managua, since no one will haul away the trash, they burn it in the middle of the city on every street corner which probably isn’t good for the planet, and is certainly no fun to breathe. Burning fossil fuels cleanly to cook with and to properly dispose of the trash would be a great improvement.
    I recall the great yellow cloud of muck wafting over the Pacific from Managua at twilight. Not a pleasant sight.

  17. Philip_B (00:51:35) :

    Global data showing temperature trends by humidity level may well be the ’smoking gun’ for aerosols being the primary cause of the observed warming.

    So smoke is the ‘smoking gun’ being the primary cause of the observed warming?

  18. This new database, if confirmed will be built into the models now.
    The models need to have the negative temperature impacts from factors such as Aerosols to keep them on track given the increase in temps they have built in for greenhouse gases.
    Aerosols is the biggest negative temperature factor right now (given there has been no significant volcano for amost 18 years).
    The model’s predictions will miss future temperature trends by a very large margin unless there is a big uptick in temps in the next few years or if they don’t find another big negative forcing to build in to offset the GHG components.
    I haven’t seen this data yet but a bigger Aerosols impact than previously projected might be just be what the models need right now.
    Here is GISS Model E “Aerosols” forcing versus temperature.
    http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/6919/modeleaerosolshb4.png

  19. Previously I posted about the 1940-1975 warming “pause” as perhaps being caused by air pollution.
    link 1
    Then I hypothesized that the “pause” we are experiencing now might be due to the industrialization of the Eastern world, China and India especially. I was told that the pollution in the East was “brown cloud” which is actually a warmer.
    link 2
    Brown Cloud pollution does not show up on IPCC forcing list as a positive forcing. Aerosols, in general, are listed as negative forcings. If Brown Cloud pollution is confirmed to be a positive forcing this will diminish the role of co2 as a warmer. The good news about Brown Cloud pollution, unlike co2, is that it can be addressed using proven technology long in use in the Western world and China and India will do this before they turn to trying to control co2.

  20. “According to the authors, a preliminary analysis of the database measurements shows a steady increase in aerosols over the period from 1973 to 2007. Increased aerosols in the atmosphere block solar radiation from the earth’s surface, and have thus caused a net “global dimming.” The only region that does not show an increase in aerosols is Europe, which has actually experienced a “global brightening,” the authors say.” Europe agressively implemented clean air legislation to combat the acid rains and killer smogs (question: on this blog are we believing in acid rain and killer smog or is this another scam?). This is the reason Europe’s particulate production drop. At a guess Britains dash to gas and France extensive nuclear energy programs would be big factors in this.
    Philip_B
    Now the idea that sulphate pollution warms the world is a new one on me. 1815, Tamboda and all you see.

  21. I am concerned that the warmists will use the aerosols as part of their arsenal, saying: “See, if it weren’t for the aerosols, the planet would be warming up faster!”
    Or do they have a point? I have been to-ing and fro-ing with a warmist friend who has contacts in the climatology business, and he has continually thrown out this concept of “The Plume”, a.k.a. the “brown cloud”. I wonder if he has fact on his side or if the brown cloud is only a side show, a distraction.
    I look for further knowledgeable comment on the subject of whether this brown cloud is having an effect on “global temperature”.

  22. From UCAR’s page — These images show three of the most important sources of atmospheric aerosols that can influence Earth’s climate: dust blown aloft by winds, soot from fires, and ash from volcanic eruptions.
    India is one of the major countries that still uses open cooking fires for food preparation. Even in rural areas, the burning of wood, charcoal, and dung for fuel, coupled with dust from wind erosion during the dry season, creates an air pollution problem.
    Here is an interesting research mashup — http://firefly.geog.umd.edu/firemap/ — It uses MODIS data. It shows in a near real time basis the fires that are burning around the globe. Most are agricultural fires, purpose set in third world countries for land clearing and old crop clearing operations. Sometimes it’s easy to spot the problems.
    I contacted the group doing this and suggested a volcano mashup would be nice providing information about volcanic eruptions and the gases they spew worldwide. I noted some recent graphics of Kilauea and how large the plume of toxic fumes was. They took the suggestion into advisement.
    Why do we always target the hard stuff first? Because that’s where the taxes are, and research needs tax money. Who is going to pay in Africa, India or the wilds of the Amazon.

  23. Lucy Skywalker (00:13:26) :”Silly naive question. (aha!) Why does the sky look blue when you look up, lightening the black night sky; but it doesn’t blue out the blackness of the oceans, even though it’s the same thickness?”
    It is my understanding that the blueness of the water depends on the depth, the color of the bottom and the clarity of the water. The light is relfected off the bottom back up through the water. Clean, shallow water with a white sand bottom will give a very nice blue but if there is seaweed or grass on the bottom or if the water is dirty you only see “darkness”. In very deep water the light doesn’t get all the way to the bottom so there is nothing to reflect back. Light passing through water comes out blue. I do not know technically if it is refracted, reflected, or aborbed and re-emitted. But I do know that with everything else being equal, the more water light passes through the more blue color you see.

  24. I read that, when pollution over LA was at its worst, it changed the weather patterns over the American west by wafting downwind, and weakening the summertime “Heat Low” which exists over Arizona. Then, when they cleaned up their act, the “Heat Low” regained its strength.
    Anyone know if this is true?
    It would be interesting to see if weather patterns show any change as various places on the planet go from clean to dirty, and then back to clean.

  25. tarpon,
    “From UCAR’s page — These images show three of the most important sources of atmospheric aerosols that can influence Earth’s climate: dust blown aloft by winds, soot from fires, and ash from volcanic eruptions.”
    Hey, this can’t be right – where are the sulphate aerosols from fossil fuel burning that the article was going on about? 🙂

  26. I think before this blue sky research gets too far along, I would pause and ask what conditions were like in terms of aerosols in the past. Oregon State University is a repository for research on natural fire cycles, catastrophic fires, Indian practices in fire management, fire suppression, and current controlled burn practices. The general consensus is that prior to 1900, the air was filled, regularly, with lots and lots of aerosols. The tree ring pattern suggests, around evidence of fire scars, that pre-fire conditions were wet and conducive to rapid growth. Just prior to , during fire, and just after scar evidence, drought conditions predominated. But then, rather rapidly, post-fire temperatures were once again wet and conducive to growth.
    So did aerosols cause temperature changes in the past? The evidence is not clear just prior to and just after fire scars. What is clear is that tree ring growth, on average, between fire scars indicate wet conditions up to the year prior to fire scar, and then drought conditions occurred just before, during, and shortly after fire scar. Conditions then returned to wet growing years. The cycles in and around the western part of the US shows catastrophic fire cycles occurring in a mulitdecadal pattern (30 to 40 years) punctuated with major fires here and there inbetween in irregular patterns (accidental human caused fires? freak storm?). My bet is that temperature changed first, setting up dry fuel load from abundant growth during wet years. The fires then filled the air with aerosols. Therefore temperature change precedes aerosol load. Knowing what we do about cold versus warm temperatures, I would say that dry years were likely colder. Wet years were likely warmer. Wet and warm causes rapid growth of trees and underbrush alike. Cold and dry leads to freeze kill, drought kill, and fuel load.
    Here is just one sample of many scholarly works on this topic.
    http://www.nwmapsco.com/ZybachB/DRAFT/PhD_Thesis/Contents.htm

  27. “Visibility was the distance a meteorological observer could see clearly from the measurement source. The more aerosols present in the air, the shorter the visibility distance.”
    How do they differentiate between polution and clouds? Or are both consedered aerosols (even though water vapor was not listed in the description of aerosols in the next paragraph)?

  28. From what i can gather sulphur compounds are involve in water droplet nucleation reactions. Therefor an increase would cause clouds to rain out quicker, reduce humidity and reduce albedo, potentially creating warming.
    Cheers

  29. This study is fatally flawed. You can’t calibrate aerosol proxies for 1973 through 2007 using data from 2000-2007 because the geographic distribution of aerosol generation during 1973-1993 was wildly different than during the calibration period.
    Specifically, massive economic development in China and India have skewed the results.

  30. RE: schnurrp (04:12:34)13/03 concerning: 1940-1975 warming “pause” as perhaps being caused by air pollution.
    The matter could be a fine test on consistency of arguments, by checking the sulphate aerosols relation towards the mid-century global cooling concerning three facts, namely
    A. the cooling started with extreme winters in Northern Europe in winter 1939/40; and
    B. the temperatures were low during the winter season, when the effect of sulphate aerosols on sun ray was at the lowest, and thirdly
    C. the pre WWII industrial activities presumably had been much higher than immediately after the end of WWII in 1945.
    See: http://www.oceanclimate.de/Archiv/apr_08.html
    Already back in 1981 the James Hansen’s team published their finding that, overall, Earth’s average temperature rose by about 0.4°C for the period from 1880 to 1978, but there was a global cooling from 1940-1970 that he considered subsequently as follows: “I think the cooling that Earth experienced through the middle of the twentieth century was due in part to natural variability,” he said. “But there’s another factor made by humans which probably contributed, and could even be the dominant cause: aerosols.” Meanwhile it is widely claimed that a high concentration of sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere may have had a cooling effect on the climate because they scatter light from the Sun, reflecting its energy back out into space, by industrial activities at the end of the second world war.
    The way Hansen and his supporting colleagues handle the matter is hardly convincing. Anyhow one day the 1940-1975 warming “pause” needs to be explained much more convincingly.

  31. Next thing you know, we will be told *pollution is ‘masking global’ warming*!
    One study in Europe indicated much of the warming there in the ’80s and 90s was due to less aerosols blocking sunlight. As pollution controls kicked in, so did the effects of increased sunlight striking the earth.

  32. I think you will find that in large areas of India and Bangladesh the main domestic fuel is still dried cow dung. I guess that would give off plenty of smoke.

  33. I liked this part:
    Unlike aerosol particles, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are transparent and have no effect on visibility. Sunlight passes right through them, just as it does through the oxygen and nitrogen that are the main constituents of our atmosphere.
    Apparently these “researchers” have either determined that water is not a GHG, or that clouds are transparent. Or maybe excluding cloud effect is settled science.

  34. The focus shouldn’t be on that silly preoccupation with CO2, but rather on the particulate matter that’s spewn into the atmosphere from the inefficient use of fuels, whether biomass or coal. The more efficient the process under which coal is burned, the less particulate matter results and greater energy yield is realized. Today China is at the low end of the energy curve in their rush to power their growing economy. As a result, they emit large quantities of particulate matter. In the future they will appreciate that it’s not just particulate matter, but money that’s spewing from their smokestacks.

  35. Tim Clark (11:37:41) :

    I liked this part:
    Unlike aerosol particles, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are transparent and have no effect on visibility. Sunlight passes right through them, just as it does through the oxygen and nitrogen that are the main constituents of our atmosphere.
    Apparently these “researchers” have either determined that water is not a GHG, or that clouds are transparent. Or maybe excluding cloud effect is settled science.

    Remember that sunlight is largely visible/UV wavelengths and these excite electronic transitions in appropriate molecules (chromophores). The greenhouse gases don’t particularly absorb EM radiation of these energies. The greenhouse gases absorb EM radiation in the infra red (especially long wave IR) which is emitted from the earth’s surface (LWIR excites vibrational transitions, not electronic transitions). That’s how the greenhouse gases work. They allow the solar irradiation through the atmosphere (ozone traps quite a lot of the UV) and partially “trap” the LWIR as it is emitted from the earth’s surface on its way back to space….
    Of course if there are lots of atmospheric aerosols this can directly intercept/reflect some of the solar radiation, such that less reaches the Earth’s surface (“global dimming”), and thus these aerosols generally counter the effects of greenhouse gases (they have a nett cooling contribution), and it seems that their effect is currently to mitigate a significant part of the warming that would accrue from the enhanced greenhouse gas concentration in a “clean” (aerosol-free) atmosphere….

  36. schnurrp (06:16:57) :

    Ian M (05:23:03) :
    Current studies speculate that brown cloud could be a cause for global warming:

    That’s not quite right I think. It is specifically the black carbon (BC) component of atmospheric brown clouds (ABC) that has an atmospheric warming effect. However overall the estimates of forcings from ABC are nett negative, and brown clouds have a cooling effect. If one were able specificially to remove the BC component from the ABC one would expect to get a bit of a cooling. However it’s not easy to see how one could do this.
    Ramanathan and Carmichael wrote a detailed review of this subject last year:
    V. Ramanathan & G. Carmichael (2008) Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon; Nature Geoscience 1, 221-227.
    For a slightly less scholarly account, but with much of the salient detail see Ramanathan’s prepared testimony for the 2007 Wegman climate subcommittee hearing:
    http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20071018110734.pdf

  37. Evidently, these “clerics” know that when the Sun is at a long minimum, areosols increase due to a more active vulcanism, like the biggest known volcanic eruption of the Huaynaputina (See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaynaputina )
    And they are already prepared to explain the next Jose’ s Minimum by blaming anthropogenic contamination (CO2, aerosols, etc.)

  38. Tom in Florida (07:07:59) :
    Lucy Skywalker (00:13:26) :”Silly naive question. (aha!) Why does the sky look blue when you look up, lightening the black night sky; but it doesn’t blue out the blackness of the oceans, even though it’s the same thickness?”
    It is my understanding that the blueness of the water depends on the depth, the color of the bottom and the clarity of the water. The light is relfected off the bottom back up through the water. Clean, shallow water with a white sand bottom will give a very nice blue but if there is seaweed or grass on the bottom or if the water is dirty you only see “darkness”. In very deep water the light doesn’t get all the way to the bottom so there is nothing to reflect back. Light passing through water comes out blue. I do not know technically if it is refracted, reflected, or aborbed and re-emitted. But I do know that with everything else being equal, the more water light passes through the more blue color you see.

    having read up a little on this during the day, it seems that there are a few things happening.
    In Daylight, scattering of molecules in the atmosphere creates a blue sky, this is turn is reflected of the surface of the water. On top of this, the ocean waters absorb red light from the refraction of waves/currents etc, which shows out the blue/green colour.
    In darkness, the ocean reflects the black sky and there is very little light to refract in the water. The reason that lighting doesn’t show a blue ocean is mainly due to the ocean reflecting the usually white light of the lightning. Due to light refraction of the ocean, the reflection isn’t very well defined and can look very dark against a brightly lite sky from the lightning strike.
    Hope this helps!

  39. Please see Douglas Hoyt’s post below. He is the same D.V. Hoyt who authored/co-authored the four papers referenced below.
    Please note there is historic data available that could be of considerable use.
    BUT: “There is no funding to do complete checks.”
    Anyone want to take on this challenge?
    Suggest tapping into the millions that Obama has allocated for climate modelling to get these modelers some real data on aerolsols.
    I understand they’ve been inventing aerosol data to get their models to history-match the cooling period from ~1945-1975. Hoyt says so such evidence exists in his data.
    Regards, Allan
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=755
    Douglas Hoyt:
    July 22nd, 2006 at 5:37 am
    Measurements of aerosols did not begin in the 1970s. There were measurements before then, but not so well organized. However, there were a number of pyrheliometric measurements made and it is possible to extract aerosol information from them by the method described in:
    Hoyt, D. V., 1979. The apparent atmospheric transmission using the pyrheliometric ratioing techniques. Appl. Optics, 18, 2530-2531.
    The pyrheliometric ratioing technique is very insensitive to any changes in calibration of the instruments and very sensitive to aerosol changes.
    Here are three papers using the technique:
    Hoyt, D. V. and C. Frohlich, 1983. Atmospheric transmission at Davos, Switzerland, 1909-1979. Climatic Change, 5, 61-72.
    Hoyt, D. V., C. P. Turner, and R. D. Evans, 1980. Trends in atmospheric transmission at three locations in the United States from 1940 to 1977. Mon. Wea. Rev., 108, 1430-1439.
    Hoyt, D. V., 1979. Pyrheliometric and circumsolar sky radiation measurements by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory from 1923 to 1954. Tellus, 31, 217-229.
    In none of these studies were any long-term trends found in aerosols, although volcanic events show up quite clearly. There are other studies from Belgium, Ireland, and Hawaii that reach the same conclusions. It is significant that Davos shows no trend whereas the IPCC models show it in the area where the greatest changes in aerosols were occurring.
    There are earlier aerosol studies by Hand and in other in Monthly Weather Review going back to the 1880s and these studies also show no trends.
    So when MacRae (#321) says: “I suspect that both the climate computer models and the input assumptions are not only inadequate, but in some cases key data is completely fabricated – for example, the alleged aerosol data that forces models to show cooling from ~1940 to ~1975. Isn’t it true that there was little or no quality aerosol data collected during 1940-1975, and the modelers simply invented data to force their models to history-match; then they claimed that their models actually reproduced past climate change quite well; and then they claimed they could therefore understand climate systems well enough to confidently predict future catastrophic warming?”, he close to the truth.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Douglas Hoyt:
    July 22nd, 2006 at 10:37 am
    Re #328
    “Are you the same D.V. Hoyt who wrote the three referenced papers?” Yes.
    “Can you please briefly describe the pyrheliometric technique, and how the historic data samples are obtained?”
    The technique uses pyrheliometers to look at the sun on clear days. Measurements are made at air mass 5, 4, 3, and 2. The ratios 4/5, 3/4, and 2/3 are found and averaged. The number gives a relative measure of atmospheric transmission and is insensitive to water vapor amount, ozone, solar extraterrestrial irradiance changes, etc. It is also insensitive to any changes in the calibration of the instruments. The ratioing minimizes the spurious responses leaving only the responses to aerosols.
    I have data for about 30 locations worldwide going back to the turn of the century.
    Preliminary analysis shows no trend anywhere, except maybe Japan.
    There is no funding to do complete checks.

  40. These brown clouds certainly reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface but no actual impact has been demonstrated from them.
    A few salient points.
    The models cannot properly model naturally-produced white clouds let alone human-produced brown clouds.
    The impact of natural white clouds are orders of magnitude greater than any human-produced brown clouds.
    Aerosols have been concentrated in the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes and NH lower latitudes recently but there is no cooling at these latitudes or in the immediate region nearby or in the regions affected by the prevailing winds.
    The NH has been increasing at a faster rate than the SH which does not have anywhere near the Aerosols impact.
    So, the conclusion has to be that human-produced Aerosols SHOULD reduce temperatures in isolation of other changes but they DON’T in actual fact.
    “The numbers should always tell the story.” …
    … “The story should not tell us what the numbers should be / must be changed to.”
    Another way of saying it is, “facts are facts.”

  41. Svante Arrhenius ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius ) based his mathematical equations(model) on seeing big dirty smoke stacks chocking out a city( his bias) back in the 1800’s for his idea of CO2 poisoning. But he had good reason, because there was a lot of particulate seen(visible) in the air from coal burning in the homes and factories in those days, this is also the reason for his theory of trapped CO2 gas as in a “greenhouse gas strapping heat ” in a CLOSED ISULATED SYSTEM.
    His idea doesn’t fly in the real world and has been proven WRONG in the OPEN SYSTEM of earth. And all the modern modeling programs or quantum computers on earth couldn’t figure that out.
    And here we are in the future, chasing natural life giving CO2 as a poison/pollution?!
    We’ve already cleaned with our fossil fuel burning, plus the particulate/off gases that could actually harm you. I hope that places like this get better advancements in fuel efficiency and emissions control. Not for the AGW flat earth sciences, but for the health of the people around and in close proximity to the REAL pollution.

  42. “These brown clouds certainly reduce the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface but no actual impact has been demonstrated from them.”
    You mean other than the decrease in pan evaporation that was one of the key results that led to the discovery of global dimming. But do carry on otherwise 😉

  43. “Adolfo Giurfa (13:47:18) :
    Evidently, these “clerics” know that when the Sun is at a long minimum, areosols increase due to a more active vulcanism, like the biggest known volcanic eruption of the Huaynaputina”
    I am going to regret asking this but how does a solar minimum affect the earths vulcanism? And are you suggesting that industrial activity does not produce sulphate polution?

  44. Dorlomin (05:27:58) :
    “And are you suggesting that industrial activity does not produce sulphate pollution?”
    As one who suffered an accident in a zinc refinery with SO2 gas I wouldn´t say that, BUT ANY AMOUNT THAT THE WHOLE HUMANITY (WHICH YOU OVERESTIMATE) could produce is but ridiculous compared to a single hour of a volcanic eruption.
    All the GWRs. affirmations are also preposterous, as the CARBON CAPTURE issue for example capturing CO2 involves washing towers where this gas is washed with milk of lime (calcium oxide), which in turn it is obtained by calcining calcium carbonate (this means producing CO2)….so it is a matter of “biting its own tail”. The tale of CO2 as a greenhouse gas…(laughs in the background)
    Come on!…so you go, when your feet are cold, to your bed with a bottle filled with AIR?, the air (once and for all) has a volumetric heat capacity 3,227 times LESS than water, so…my advice, take a bottle filled with hot water instead.
    And that story which tells that CO2 (by the way 0.038% of the atmosphere) when heated doesn´t goes up to free its heat to stratosphere, and instead radiates down its heat, is like saying that a Balloon can not fly way up when filled with hot air heated with a propane burner (which produces CO2 and H2O- Water-).
    The real issue is political and I have nothing to say about that except that all this telltale was invented by the Nazi party before the second world war.
    See:
    http://www.spunk.org/texts/places/germany/sp001630/peter.html

  45. I lived in Mumbai for 18 months. There a lot of the air pollution is dust and dirt swept up from the ground by wind, as happens when you don’t have ground paved over by concrete and tarmac.
    Right now that air pollution is blocking a little bit of sunlight and where the roads are fully developed yet the earth absorbed heat. In the future, when roads and sidewalks are up to modern standards, we’ll see a reduction in natural air pollution that will allow more sunlight to penetrate the atmosphere. This will heat up all those new roads and pavements. Mumbai will get warmer and the media will blame it on global warming instead of urban development and clean air.

  46. The effect of brown cloud pollution on heating depends on several variables. The altitude of the cloud, the color of the cloud compared to the surface it is masking, and the angle of incidence of the incoming light.
    Here in Colorado the Denver basin was notorious for a thick brown cloud during the winter with temperature inversions. That low level pollution layer could be seen to move up and down the local drainage basin (Platte River valley) each day in a diurnal cycle). During the night hours the brown cloud would slide down slope into the Greeley area, then as the sun came up and heating began the air flow would reverse and carry the brown cloud back up slope into the Denver Basin. As long as the heating was not sufficient to break the temperature inversion the brown cloud layer would cause significant dimming in the core city area. It was very obvious as you drove out of the basin and out from under the pall of the brown cloud that the local solar isolation went up. At some sun angles the top of that inversion layer could be very bright and reflect a large amount of light off the top of the cloud layer. Pilots reported the top of the cloud being so bright they could not see the ground below it, as if they were looking at a reflection off of a layer of snow. As I understand it the upper layer of the brown cloud would heat due to absorption of the suns energy but the lower layers of the cloud were cooled due to lack of sunlight, so it could intensify a temperature inversion under some condtions and “cap off” the basin, capturing all the local pollution in the basin.
    In the 1970’s they came to the conclusion that a large contributor to the brown cloud in the winter, was pulverized sand used on snow covered roads as they thawed and dried out after a snow storm. They drastically cut back on sand applications for that reason in the winter, and that significantly improved the local brown cloud development in post snow storm conditions.
    If the brown cloud was masking snow covered terrain the total albedo went down as sun light that in clear skies would have been reflected off the snow cover was now absorbed in the brown clouds upper layer. In the summer time the brown cloud might be lighter color than the dark green of trees and grass, so it is hard to categorically state if particulates warm or cool the local climate until you consider these issues.
    In the summer time during forest fire season we can have significant particulate from distant fires. At times we actually can smell the smoky smell of burning wood from fires 100’s of miles to the west of the Metro area during the fire season.
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A02E1D91E3CF932A15757C0A96E958260
    http://www.raqc.org/presentations/azbcs080800.PDF
    Larry
    Larry

  47. For the first time, a large study shows the deadly effects of chronic exposure to ozone, one of the most widespread pollutants in the world and a key component of smog, according to a study in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.
    Doctors have long known that ground-level ozone — which is formed when sunlight interacts with pollution from tailpipes and coal-burning power plants — can make asthma worse. This study, which followed nearly 450,000 Americans in 96 metropolitan areas for two decades, also shows that ozone increases deaths from respiratory diseases.

  48. Bangladesh truly has nasty air. Well, I guess we have to trade something off for cheap Nikes.

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