Blame it on Asia, yeah that's the ticket

From Nature

Asian pollution delays inevitable warming

Dirty power plants exert temporary protective effect.

http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/SeaWiFS/TEACHERS/ATMOSPHERE/ChinaPollution.jpg

Image from SEAWIFS: An often opaque layer of polluted air covers much of eastern China in this image which was collected on 2 January 2000

Jeff Tollefson

The grey, sulphur-laden skies overlying parts of Asia have a bright side — they reflect sunlight back into space, moderating temperatures on the ground. Scientists are now exploring how and where pollution from power plants could offset, for a time, the greenhouse warming of the carbon dioxide they emit.

A new modelling study doubles as a thought experiment in how pollution controls and global warming could interact in China and India, which are projected to account for 80% of new coal-fired power in the coming years. If new power plants were to operate without controlling pollution such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX), the study finds, the resulting haze would reflect enough sunlight to overpower the warming effect of CO2 and exert local cooling.

But this effect would not be felt uniformly across the globe and would last only a few decades. In the long run, CO2 would always prevail, and the world could experience a rapid warming effect if the skies were cleaned up decades down the road.

“The paper highlights the fundamental inequity and iniquity of anthropogenic climate change: ‘enjoy now and make others pay later’,” says Meinrat Andreae, an aerosol expert at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, who was not involved in the work. In fact, he says, dirty coal plants could be seen as “a very primitive form of geoengineering”.

The study, which is under review at Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, builds on a well-established idea. Global temperatures were relatively stable in the decades leading up to the 1970s, even as fossil-fuel consumption shot up. Then industrialized countries began curbing SO2 and NOX to reduce acid rain and protect public health — and temperatures increased rapidly. The latest work, led by Drew Shindell at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, looks at how the climate effects of air pollutants and greenhouse gases could play out over time and geography.

read the remainder at Nature

h/t to Leif Svalgaard

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106 thoughts on “Blame it on Asia, yeah that's the ticket

  1. If correlation doesn’t equal causation for seeohtwo, why should it, per se, for any other gaseous emissions?
    Why can’t the temperature shift be explained by PDO/AMO shifts??

  2. Aerosol theory is a fig leaf, covering the unexplainable drop of global temperatures between 1945-1980. Had the theory been correct, industrial areas as Ruhr area in Germany would be experiencing much colder climate than surrounding country. Nothing like this has been ever observed.
    Jones study about warming of industrial China attributed 1.2 deg C warming since 1950, 0.5 deg C of that being UHI effect. There is no sign of massive cooling, despite Chinese industry most probably does not use modern filters, desulfurisation etc.

  3. Well yes, most fossil fuel power plants were said to be neutral with respect to climate change so long as they produced SOX and NOX as well as COX. But of course we have taken a lot of the sulphur out of power plants and who cares about NOX (Nature produces way more than mankind) so it is the SOX element that provided a degree of global cooling, though why the article is coy about coming right out and saying “cooling” is beyond me unless this is bad news.
    Anyway, the real issue is we are doing what we can to take particulates out of fossil fuels exhausts. The fact is they are a factor in morbidity (not mortality or death but life expectancy) and most of the worst affects come from auto exhausts.
    What was cleaned up was sulphur, in Europe and North America, the IPCC 4th report apparently cannot quantify if globally SOX has gone up or down or stayed the same.
    Yet SOX has indeed a chilling effect, so much so a nobel prize winning (I know, that doesn’t count for anything these days) scientist suggested we should be putting SOX into the atmosphere using artillery or rockets. That idea has now orphed into the concept of artificial volcanoes…..
    DEFRA Says (see the aric website):
    Globally, quantities of nitrogen oxides produced naturally (by bacterial and volcanic action and lightning) far outweigh anthropogenic (man-made) emissions. Anthropogenic emissions are mainly due to fossil fuel combustion from both stationary sources, i.e. power generation (21%), and mobile sources, i.e. transport (44%). Other atmospheric contributions come from non-combustion processes, for example nitric acid manufacture, welding processes and the use of explosive.
    So why the emphasis on NOX?

  4. Global temperatures were relatively stable in the decades leading up to the 1970s, even as fossil-fuel consumption shot up. Then industrialized countries began curbing SO2 and NOX to reduce acid rain and protect public health — and temperatures increased rapidly.

    Is this a new playbook? “relatively stable” — “temperatures increased rapidly” — no CO2 mentioned…
    Dichotomy springs to mind. This definition of the word adds colour: being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses; “the dichotomy between eastern and western culture”.
    The “culture” bit…

  5. So, let me get this straight. Pollution will save us from CO2 causing AGW. I know, I know, I’m not a scientist, what would I know…

  6. And cleaning the atmosphere will cause us problems, yes? Help me, please. Just give me the tax bill and leave me alone, OK? I give up. NWO is right, I am wrong.
    A gin stained tear ran down Winston’s cheek….

  7. All this proves is that we are clueless as to the real effect of power plants on temperatures. I would expect a local land use warming effect, naturally. Power plants are very inefficient, and typically waste up to two thirds of the energy produced as waste heat. Was this effect taken into consideration?

  8. But the delta temperatures in China are among the highest. Strange then that the local cooling thus has partly offset an even greater local warming, for which we have no explanation. Clueless scientists?

  9. “……A new modelling study doubles as a thought experiment……”
    eh? – so I googled it
    and I quote –
    “A thought experiment, sometimes called by the German name gedankenexperiment, is a proposal for an experiment that would test or illuminate a hypothesis, theory,[1] or principle.
    Given the structure of the proposed experiment, it may or may not be possible to actually perform the experiment and, in the case that it is possible for the experiment to be performed, no intention of any kind to actually perform the experiment in question may exist. The common goal of a thought experiment is to explore the potential consequences of the principle in question.
    Famous examples of thought experiments include Schrödinger’s cat, illustrating quantum indeterminacy through the manipulation of a perfectly sealed environment and a tiny bit of radioactive substance, and Maxwell’s demon, in which a supernatural being is instructed to attempt to violate the second law of thermodynamics.”
    so nothing new there then for AGW “science” complete bo*****s

  10. “Blame it on Asia, yeah that’s the ticket”
    Did you have anything substantive to write? No insight into the heinous flaws that any paper that supports the consensus must by definition contain.

  11. Looks like we are back to the cooling of the 1970s. But its still the fossil wot done it.
    Warming, cooling, any kind of weather — its man, his greed and his consumption.

  12. Hmm. . . Is there anyone in the northern hemisphere who wants to cool things off right about now?
    /Mr Lynn

  13. I thought that black soot was speeding the melting of glaciers?
    http://news.discovery.com/earth/black-soot-himalayas-glaciers.html
    So pollution is reflecting away insolation but absorbing insolation. Hmmm.
    “The study, which is under review at Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ….” So the paper is still under going peer review? Or am I misinterpreting the statement?
    China and India will pay a heavy price for failing to employ clean coal technologies. This price will have little to do with global temperatures but rather with human health.
    “In the long run, CO2 would always prevail …” is an article of faith, not science.
    The cheer leading of Nature’s editors reminds me of the Genie leading prince Ali into the city of Agrabah.

    I can’t wait for Gavin to “bee himself”.
    Mike Ramsey

  14. Predictable really. I was wondering how long it would take for a paper like this to come out.
    Note: the effect will only last a few decades. (Until about 2030?)
    DaveE.

  15. How’s that for a crafty comeback to the argument that the global warming climate models have been wrong in every prediction they have ever made? “Eureka! Pollution causes DELAYED global warming! Try and refute THAT!”
    The world of climate science is shipwrecked in a fog of mendacity.

  16. Anthony,
    Your world climate widget is so far out of date that is it not useful?
    All the spots displayed have disappeared and the NOAA values do not represent reality.

  17. When are these jokers going to ‘fess up to the fact that, short of a full scale nuclear war, it is highly unlikely that mankind can do anything to significantly influence the climate?
    There is, of course, all sorts of sensible reasons why we might want to increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution. But of course, the warmists (including this merry team who are obviously trying to manufacture fig leaves to disguise the fact that AGW just isn’t happening) are now desperate to keep their obsession going – and carry on stuffing their pockets with tax payers’ money.

  18. The problem I see in the temporary relief theory is that, after the mid 70’s, the nightime lows shot up but the daytime highs dropped to meet them in a region with no power plants upwind within 8,000 miles.
    Diurnals are the separation of highs and lows on a daily basis. When you have drier climate, there is a far greater separation than if you have a wetter climate. The amount of water vapor is always the deciding factor, and appears independent of climate state (hot or cold) or even season.
    One has to be mindful that as climate swings (globally or regionally) between dry and wet, temperature anomalies can be led about by the nose. How so?
    If the water content of air can change, why would other aerosols not do the same?

  19. I´ve asked this to several scientists but never got any conclusive reply. If the negative forcing of anthopogenic aerosols is comparable to that of CO2 alone (AR4), why are we not observing their cooling effect over the emitting areas or downwind from them? As the article says, their effect is local, due to their short residence time in the troposphere. Trends over China, India or Eastern Europe are very much in line with the rest of the world. Perhaps someone would be kind enough to explain this apparent paradox to me?

  20. Am I imagining the desperation that seeps out of this Nature article? Pulling out that advocacy limiter device and stomping on it? Seems more like a tabloid piece than a Science piece.
    John

  21. Enjoy now and make others pay later
    The devil rebuking sin!
    Hundreds of billions of our dollars (our life, and lives of our children) are being wasted on their data manipulation, quixotic windmills, crap-and-trade, biofuel subsidies, bailing out their bosom friends, academic grants and class-envy subsidies. Deficits are such that our grandchildren will be indentured to the world governments. And they continue printing money like there won’t be tomorrow.
    At the same time, there is no factual evidence pointing at any temperature rise due to the CO2 increase. (Not to mention that the CO2 data they are using in their criminal models comes from the top of an active volcano!) There is no catastrophe of any kind pending, other than a good 50-year-long global freeze caused by the Sun taking a break.
    They think it’s a recession? I think it’s the beginning of the Atlas’ shrug.

  22. Hmmmm.
    Sooooo. -Pollution- is an effective counter to -Global Warming-??
    Well then.
    ….
    Is this really what the Warministas want to project now? Seriously? Because if this is the case then I have … a solution … to the “problem” of Global Warming.
    And amazingly enough it won’t cost trillions of dollars.

  23. “A new modelling study…”
    Yup, that’s what we need. More climate models. They always work out so well.
    Has anybody yet put a climate model on the market?
    -Destroy your own world.
    -See what what happens as you increase or decrease CO2, and water vapour.
    – Watch as the ice melts and the polar bears drown.
    – Track how sea level rises and floods out Al Gore’s seaside home.

  24. Well, there’s the solution to global warming.
    We just keep up what we have been doing all along; buying crap at Wal-Mart, who then restocks by buying from the Chinese, who make more crap in their factories, which factories are dumping crap in the atmosphere, which hides the warming.
    According to this hiding the warming with crap in the atmosphere, we can delay the warming for decades.
    So, you American consumers, get out there and do your duty! Run up your credit card debts.
    Not only will you pull us out of this nasty little recession, you’ll put more Americans to work as greeters in Wal-Mart, more Chinese to work in their factories, give the Chinese more dollars to buy our junk debt, more demand for Arabic oil, translating into more funds for terrorism, creating more demand for American military action, and as a bonus: delay of global warming.

  25. When will they learn that CO2 cannot drive the climate?
    Not only does Beer’s law apply regarding its effect as a “heat-trapping” gas (it’s effects are largely spent already), but Misjkolczi appears to have elegantly shown a yin-yang relationship between CO2 and water vapor which yields their overall effect relatively constant.
    Thus, CO2 is effectively irrelevant to climate – but the plants and oceans love it and the latter scoff at ignoramus predictions of acidification. [Protons produced by an equilibrium cannot shift its own equilibrium; a source outside the equilibrium (not CO2) is required; Chem 101.]

  26. And the fact that this ‘unprecedented warming trend’ has happened many times before, even at least twice in the last century, and is not statistically relevant, according to the guru Phil Jones, we’re all going to die unless we buy Al Gore’s Carbon Credits
    Well, colour me skeptical but…..

  27. Looking at China in the GISS anomaly map for the 2000-2009 decade, I see no trace of this cooling effect.
    Also, looking at the long record for Kew, London, the temperature curve seems to DROP after the clean air act was introduced in 1956 – shouldn’t that have been the other way round?
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=651036720010&data_set=1&num_neighbors=1
    That SO2 and particulates have caused cooling is stated again and again, but is this really “settled science”? Lower troposphere emissions is something radically different from volcanoes which push SO2 into the stratosphere.
    One thing is for sure: When I was a kid in Norway, the snow was often much dirtier than now because of airborne pollution from the European continent, and this dirty snow must have had a positive effect on temperatures, since the dirt made it melt much faster.

  28. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were all as simple as these two balancing feedbacks. What about albedo? What about cloud seeding? ocean fertilization? etc…..

  29. This is just a silly study since the science is now completely settled… I don’t know how many trillions we have spent on these studies, but I think it’s about a trillion bucks for each tenth of a degree we have gained by the adjustments. I have an idea; remove the adjustments and give us our money back! It’s really so simple!

  30. I thought aerosols only affected global climate if they were dispersed globally, such as when volcanic emissions reach the stratosphere.

  31. So either one cancels the other – or possibly – neither account for anything. I see nothing therefore two very dangerous processes must be occurring and cancelling eachother out. KISS!

  32. They need to stop blaming 3rd world countries for the lack of global warming. The sooner that they can admit that they were wrong, the sooner we can start undoing the harm from their brainwashing over the past 3 decades.

  33. Yes, the role of sulfur aerosols reflecting sunlight has long been discussed — although the reliability of sulfur aerosol data bases is certainly suspect. Yet, a major concern of Asian use of coal has been black soot, and various studies, including a NASA study, blame noticeable warming and melting on black soot. It is not clear to me that this latest Nature paper considers the role of black soot.

  34. The USA and Western Europe significantly reduced air pollution since the 1970’s. But that has no effect on increasing warming. But more pollution in Asia reduces warming. Got it?

  35. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a load of aerosols. The blinkered faithful at Nature must be getting desperate.

  36. So, I’ve seen reports lately that climate is changing faster than predicted and, now, slower due to coal plants.
    It really is getting hard following this moving target …

  37. Stephan (04:16:46) :
    When will the editors of Nature wake up? Its over, finito, zilch, move on or become a trash journal.
    Too late.

  38. Funny, back in 2007 Nature said the Brown Cloud was enhancing warming:
    Ramanathan, V., M.V. Ramana, G. Roberts, D. Kim, C. Corrigan, C. Chung, and D. Winker, 2007. Warming trends in Asia amplified by brown cloud solar absorption. Nature, 448, 575-578.
    Sounds to me like aerosols are still a wash.

  39. Wasn’t there a CRU e-mail, that included Obama Science Czar Holdren, that talked about this cooling happening near a power plant in China ?

  40. I unintentionally ran over a rattle snake once up on Minam Grade. After the bump, bump, I looked in my rear view mirror and the thing was thrashing about in a wild frenzy. That must of hurt. Maybe I ran over his rattle? Don’t know. Didn’t stop to check. Anyway, the above (gawd I hate to even type the word) “scientific” study reminds me of the rattle snake thrashing about the road because maybe it can’t rattle no more.

  41. There was a CRU e-mail (1231350711), that included Obama Science Czar Holdren, that talked about this cooling happening near a power plants in China and India.

  42. It has been well known for a decade or more that atmospheric sulfate causes cooling. The whitish haze in dry skies, or the increase in cloud cover and cloud whiteness in humid air, reflect back more sunlight than would be the case with less sulfate (a small portion of which has natural origins, in locations near an ocean).
    What hasn’t been known until recently is that unlike black carbon and hazardous gas emissions such as PAHs, formaldehyde, benzene, etc., the latest science appears to say that atmospheric sulfates don’t harm human health as once thought (and as many still think on the basis of 20 years of unrelenting press). It appears that we thought sulfates were harmful because major studies of the 1990s found statistical associations between sulfates and mortality, but those studies didn’t include other pollutants such as diesel emissions (black carbon). Toxicology studies show that sulfates are biologically inactive, but that the many products of diesels (especially older ones) are biologically active.
    Newer studies, which compare many different pollutants (including black carbon) against some health endpoint in the same model, mostly show statistical associations with black carbon and with other diesel emissions, but not with sulfate. A good example (which included 20 different types of tiny particles in the model) is:
    M.L. Bell, 2009, Hospital Admissions and Chemical Composition of Fine Particle Air Pollution, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 179:1115–1120.
    If readers ask, I will provide more references.
    The science is never fully settled, but my own assessment is that the great majority of human health effects from air pollution come from tiny particles that are biologically active in the lung, and that these are mostly freshly emitted carbonaceous particles and gases.

  43. “In the long run, CO2 would always prevail”
    Well of course it would, that’s how the models are designed.

  44. That’s a neat trick. It is not warming because the smog is reflecting heat back into space! I thought it was all the emissions which were causing the problem, or is that old hat?

  45. I’ve never been happy with the concept of a “thought experiment”. If you could THINK the right answer there would be no need to do any real experiments. While cheap, it is hardly scientific.
    I’m also uncomfortable with the concept of being happy to spray noxious sulphur compounds around the skies and call it a good thing. In the west, “clean air” legislation was thought necessary to remove acid rain and to improve the health of urban populations who previously had to live in noxious smogs. If cleaning up sulphur emissions is beneficial for us in the West, why should the Chinese have to live in pea-soupers? That’s racist!
    Trading off an unknown but probably very small risk of warming by perpetuating a large, definitely risky form of pollution – Just goes to show that people don’t seem to matter much in these equations. Poor people will suffer if this idea goes ahead.

  46. Pamela Gray (06:43:46) : Good analogy. To me, I find it similar to the “pee dance” my 5 year old son does, and proceeds to deny that he has to pee.

  47. Nearly 50 years ago while working for a Ph.D at Cambridge, I had two publications in Nature. It was the pinnacle of my academic achievements, as I later left academia to work in industry.
    Any suggestions as to how I might avoid the opprobrium of being associated with an organ which is now such a travesty of scientific integrity? You can resign a knighthood but how can I disown my publications?

  48. CO2 causes global warming. CO2 protects us from global warming.
    Can’t the warmists make up their minds or do all the sides on their climate dice display a single spot?

  49. A simple question that I want Climatology to answer: What was the climate supposed to be if AGW hadn’t intervened?
    They can really only argue that there would be stasis (impossible) of cooling (more deadly) if AGW was absent as the Jones argument (that all warming in 150 years is AGW) rules out that the globe would have warmed in that time.

  50. Mike Ramsey:
    Yes, the soot is playing a part near and far and the Asian particulate emissions have the cooling effect while aerosols, but this Nature article appears to neglect entirely the warming effect once those aerosols are deposited on snow or ice.
    Even Hansen has been a coauthor on a couple of papers attributing up to a possible 60% of ice melt in the Arctic to the deposition of soot on the surface changing the albedo (LOL, not by measurement, of course, but by simply modeling). Considering the feedback of changing from snow/ice albedos to open water albedo earlier, really, how much of northern hemisphere warming is the result of particle emissions? We don’t, collectively, know, but it is possible that it outweighs the cooling effect in the above article.
    And the GISS crew, especially Koch, also were able to make an argument supporting the notion that most black carbon aerosols making the trek to the Arctic originate from Asia.
    The latest: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/koch_05/

  51. ‘But I was thinking of a plan to die one’s whiskers green
    And always use so large a fan that they could not be seen’
    Lewis Carroll

  52. Perhaps we can retrain the TEAM – (including NATURE)
    They seem intent on their own survival –
    Maybe they could become wildlife biologists and study the giant snakes of the world – accidents?
    The TEAM is not going to go away graciously-
    They are supported by the same folks that brought us the DDT ban and we know how that helped the world.

  53. The problem the models had to explain the 1945-1975 flat/cooling period with increasing CO2 levels was nicely solved by introducing the cooling effect of sulfate aerosols.
    But that introduced new problems: since about 1990, the world wide emissions of SO2 didn’t rise anymore, but shifted from Europe and North America to SE Asia. Where indeed the brown/black aerosols from wood/dung stoves in India causes more solar energy absorption in the lower atmosphere and on snow/ice.
    If you look at the influence on temperature (some 0.6 C) of the Pinatubo injection of SO2 directly in the stratosphere, where it lasts several years (due to the lack of water vapor) and you compare that to what humans emit over a year (which lasts average 4 days), then the effect is maximal 0.1 C cooling. Not very important. Especially if that is compensated by brown/black soot, even the sign of the effect is not known for sure…
    Have a look at the change in SO2 emissions in Europe 1990-1999: The maximum effect of the change in SO2 emissions would be found near the Finnish/Russian border, according to the HadCM3 model. But one sees only the effect of the NAO switch around 1975, when more westerlies cause warmer and wetter winters in Northern Europe:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/aerosols.html
    Temperatures in India increase faster than in the SH south of India (Diego Garcia), although this is from an island (the others from coastal places), thus not to be taken as absolute proof:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/india_temp.html
    But 90% of all human aerosols are emitted in the NH, thus the NH should warm less fast than the SH. But as the NH has more land, this can influence the difference in warming speed. That would be so, but even the oceans in the NH are warming faster than the SH ocean parts, if compensated for area:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/oceans_heat.html
    Conclusion: aerosols are used in the models as compensation for the lack of warming in the 1945-1975 period, but as the current period shows, there were and are other (natural) factors at work which should explain the observations. Aerosols have far less impact that currently included in the models and even the sign of the overall effect is questionable…

  54. A new modelling study doubles as a thought experiment…. demonstrating how to construct self-serving “just so” reveries so necessary to the continuance of an infantile mental state throughout adulthood and call it “Climate Science”, “Progressive”, and, Yea, even “Post Normal Science”.

  55. This article is pure bs without accompanying data. I’m not listening to any handwaving assertions unless they can be corroborated via satellite data on incoming/outgoing radiation.
    If, as CERES shows, there has been less reflected sunlight over the past few years how does that square with the article which blames aerosols for more reflected sunlight thus less warming than expected?

  56. Claude Harvey (04:45:51) :
    There is a better prediction, that is 100% safe, and will probably come from NASA next;
    “Pollution causes DELAYED global CHANGE”.
    Impossible to falsify.

  57. Wonderful CAGW theory at work:
    SO2 and NOx emissions have a very short term effect where they “hide” the CO2-driven warming.
    Meanwhile the CO2 is still there, will persist for a hundred years or more with effects felt for millenia.
    Therefore if we shift to “clean energy” that removes the SO2 and NOx emissions, the warming effect of the CO2 will return quickly, and we will fry.
    Is this a message they want out there? “Dirty” power protects us from CAGW?

  58. So now we are told potent green house gases are good? This what Hansen previously said.
    “The effects of soot in changing the climate are more than most scientists acknowledge, two US researchers say. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they say reducing atmospheric soot levels could help to slow global warming relatively simply. They believe soot is twice as potent as carbon dioxide, a main greenhouse gas, in raising surface air temperatures. … The researchers are Dr James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko, both of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, part of the US space agency Nasa, and Columbia University Earth Institute.”

  59. V. Ramanathan has testified to Congress about the role of atmospheric brown clouds. As pointed out earlier in this thread, he has many papers in this area.
    http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/testimonials/BlackCarbonHearing-testimony.pdf
    The testimony purported to speak of black carbon, but considers mainly the soot-aerosol mixtures resident in the atmosphere.
    V.Ramanathan’s hypothesis then, was to blame black soot for atmospheric warming at 1000-3000 meters range which then melted the glaciers in the Himalayas.
    It is interesting to note that the testimony contains to references to any paper to support its conclusions of alleged glacier retreat in the recent past.
    Ramanathan has also claimed that black carbon (BC) is the second most important factor after CO2, to prduce warming
    “Thus, with a combined forcing (from items i, ii, and iii) of
    1 to 1.2 Wm-2 (± 0.4 Wm-2) BC is likely to be the second most important contributor (next to CO2) to global warming.
    Now these guys at the Atmos Chem Phys are saying
    ” If new power plants were to operate without controlling pollution such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX), the study finds, the resulting haze would reflect enough sunlight to overpower the warming effect of CO2 and exert local cooling.
    Ramanathan, moreover says
    “In addition, we integrated into the model, the emission history of soot for the last 70 years and simulated the Asian climate from 1930 to 2005 with and without ABCs. These simulations showed that ABCs contributed as much as greenhouse gases to the warming trend of the atmosphere between 1 to 5 km,”
    at the same time, he also says:
    “Our ability to model the effects of BCs in climate models is severely limited. One of the main reasons is the large uncertainty (factor of 2 or more) in the current estimates of the emission of organic (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) (See Bond et al., 2004; 2007). “
    Make what you want, of it all. 🙂
    Shub

  60. “But this effect would not be felt uniformly across the globe and would last only a few decades. In the long run, CO2 would always prevail, and the world could experience a rapid warming effect if the skies were cleaned up decades down the road.”
    So the cooling for the next 30 years we all know is coming, is actually man-made as well. How convenient.

  61. Re Ferdinand Engelbeen (08:26:00)
    Ferdinand, thank you for your explanation and links. But surely all these smart IPCC scientists and modellers must have taken these obvious things into consideration. Do you know of any paper that considers the lack of local cooling over the emitting areas but stills maintains the important effect of sulphates? Is perhaps the so-called aerosol indirect effect more important and less regional? Is all of this discussed anywhere in the mainstream literature?
    Mikel

  62. Yes, one of the climategate emails speculates whether sulphate emissions from India and China might be the reason why there hadn’t been the predicted warming – but that it was hard to tell because they didn’t have reliable emissions data.
    Except … if they don’t have reliable emissions data, then how can they have any confidence in what’s been coming out of their climate models? Or indeed, if they don’t have emissions data for today, they probably don’t have any for the 1950s or 1960s either which was when they ASSUMED it was responsible for the world cooling whilst CO2 was rising.
    Now what was that about “the science is settled”?

  63. “A simple question that I want Climatology to answer: What was the climate supposed to be if AGW hadn’t intervened” – Jryan
    Well, I suppose one could plot a trend line from, oh, about 1700 (end of the little ice age) to 1940 (start of mass global CO2 emissions) and extrapolate…
    …except I suspect that’d probably show more warming than we’ve actually had!

  64. No no no, Jo Nova had it right ages ago when she PROVED global temperatures are driven by US Postal charges.
    (I got to think of something to get my hands on this limitless research grant money. Looking for et al’s, any takers)?

  65. “If new power plants were to operate without controlling pollution such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX), the study finds, the resulting haze would reflect enough sunlight to overpower the warming effect of CO2 and exert local cooling.”
    The heat waves in UK and France in 200? & ? were blamed on the fact that we had controlled pollution so well that there was no longer this haze protecting us from the warming effect of CO2. That argument has fallen by the wayside since then because we have had such rubbish summers since.
    Does that not indicate that the warming effect of CO2 is suspect?
    I would have thought it would be better to concentrate on the health hazards of living in that noxious cloud.

  66. Ah, we seem to be full throttle into a degenerative research agenda now, as the Team desperately tries to explain why model predictions are failing to match reality.
    Wouldn’t the effort be better spent trying to understand the fundamental mechanisms, rather than the smaller effects? It is entertaining, though, to observe the tortured logic. (And we thought pollution was a BAD thing! Silly us.)

  67. Mikel Mariñelarena (04:54:55) :
    “I´ve asked this to several scientists but never got any conclusive reply. If the negative forcing of anthopogenic aerosols is comparable to that of CO2 alone (AR4), why are we not observing their cooling effect over the emitting areas or downwind from them?”
    UHI :o)

  68. Again, another “conclusion” based on computer models, not on observation. And how do these models work? Right, sulphate aerosols are programmed to give a negative feedback that exactly accounts for the 1945 – 1976 cooling. Unfortunately, there were no empirical studies in those days that actually measured the amount of sunlight that was supposed to be reflected back into space by these aerosols. It was enough to assume values that were convenient to their man made global warming story.
    Once upon a time, they used to show movies in a continuous loop, with viewers coming in on a continual basis. Every so often, someone would utter, “oh, this is where we came in.” I feel like uttering the same words now, as we go round again with the same old tautological nonsense.

  69. Mikel Mariñelarena (09:54:28) :
    Do you know of any paper that considers the lack of local cooling over the emitting areas but stills maintains the important effect of sulphates?
    The IPCC takes the effect of sulphate aerosols quite high. If they shouldn’t, then the effect of CO2 is much less than expected in the models: there is an offset between aerosol influence and CO2 influence (forcing + feedbacks). This was discussed years ago on RC:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/07/climate-sensitivity-and-aerosol-forcings/ (see my comment at #14)
    and further at
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/an-aerosol-tour-de-forcing/ (my comment at #6 and further on)
    The link to the Heald paper (most aerosols in the free atmosphere are of natural origin – from vegetation) doesn’t work anymore. Here is the new link:
    http://acmg.seas.harvard.edu/publications/heald_2005.pdf
    There are several other publications that show that natural aerosols are underestimated (and anthro aerosols overestimated):
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/312/5771/261
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/314/5804/1419
    and many more…
    Different models give different answers for regional effects, including aerosols. But as CO2 is quite evenly distributed, the largest regional effect is from aerosols, thus should be seen downwind from the main sources. The IPCC (TAR) has some pictures about the different influences:
    http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig6-7.htm
    But be aware of the difference in scales! And in graph h) they include sea salt with human sulphate aerosols for the first secundary effect…
    Is perhaps the so-called aerosol indirect effect more important and less regional? Is all of this discussed anywhere in the mainstream literature
    See the IPCC figures for the spread of the different effects…
    The first indirect effect is that more clouds are formed due to more fine sulphate aerosols in the atmosphere which act as kernels for water drops, that extends somewhat further than the aerosol effect itself (in theory). The second indirect effect is that more fine drops gives longer lasting and brighter clouds, thus more reflection to space. The second indirect effect is difficult to measure/prove, but the first indirect effect should give a huge difference in cloud trends, but as far as I know, no such trends are measured, where “global dimming” (and reverse!) probably is more related to water vapor than to aerosols.
    Brown/black aerosols have the opposite first indirect effect, as these absorb more solar energy, thus heating up the lower atmosphere, which reduces cloud formation. This should be seen over the Indian Ocean between the highly polluted NH and the much cleaner SH near the equator (the ITCZ forms a strong barrier against aerosol exchanges). But there is hardly a difference in trends:
    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/io_cloud.pdf

  70. LOL
    But this is exactly what happened during prior to and during the early industrial revolution and why may urban thermometers over 100 years ago did not record the real amount of sunlight that would have reached ground level had the air been cleaner. The hockey stick graph would really be shaped differently if there was a Clean Air Act 200 years ago.

  71. So WattsUp cuts and pastes an article from nature with a headling disputing SO2s impact on the climate.
    Sulphergate……

  72. Vincent (11:22:15) :
    Unfortunately, there were no empirical studies in those days that actually measured the amount of sunlight that was supposed to be reflected back into space by these aerosols.
    There were no satellites around in that period, but we have some places where the incoming sunlight was measured from the mid 1950’s:
    From Wild e.a. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/308/5723/847
    The free supporting material is interesting:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/308/5723/847/DC1/1
    Where you can see that in several countries the “global dimming” reverses around 1975, but as China is also positive after 1985, that seems not connected to aerosols but to clouds and/or water vapour…

  73. Several commenters have asked for references in the literature for the sulfate cooling effect — here are a couple:
    Bellouin, et al. Global estimate of aerosol direct radiative forcing from satellite measurements. Nature. Dec. 29, 2005. 1138-1141
    Streets et al. Two-decadal aerosol trends as a likely explanation of the global
    dimming/brightening transition. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. 2006. 33, L15806

  74. Danger of epicycles here:
    Start with a premise: Sun and stars go round the world or CO2 is the cause or the main cause of any warming.
    Lock that into the model and never question it. So how to explain anomalies?
    Epicycles in the one case but in this case perhaps aerosoles.
    But if aerosoles later prove problematic? Never mind, use that as a starting point for further adjustments. Look for something that affects the affect of aerosoles.
    Keep tweaking to perfect the models. Great need for lots more grant money here of course.
    Of course if your starting ‘locked in and proven’ premise is wrong then you are wasting your time and our money.

  75. First it was “Global Cooling”, then it was “Global Warming”.
    “Global Warming” evolved into “Climate Change”, which now
    is “Delayed Climate Change”.
    It sounds like…….something has some effect somewhere…in a 100 years from now….
    Fills me with a feeling of sceptisism.

  76. I stopped reading when I got to the part; “A new modelling study….”.
    In other words little boys playing with big computers and predicting the future. No thanks.

  77. Oh Boy! So we have a trivial solution: Take all the SO2 / NOx scrubbers off and take the cat converter off my car! Great!
    Oh, and while we’re at it, lets put a double dose of sulphur in the “at altitude cruse” tanks of jet liners. Typically large jets have several, with one used for take off / landing and another for altitude cruse. So we can dump LOADS of sulphur at altitudes of 35,000 to 45,000 feet all over the place. No Problem!
    Glad we could find such an easy solution to this problem. (Or such an easy solution to the ‘non problem’ …)
    /sarcoff>

  78. “Image from SEAWIFS: An often opaque layer of polluted air covers much of eastern China in this image”
    Man I could have sworn I’d seen that in the movie Silent Running with Bruce Dern. 1972, anybody remember that?

  79. “China and India, which are projected to account for 80% of new coal-fired power in the coming years”
    Please be more specific, like China 70% and India 10% for example.

  80. John (15:31:21) :
    Bellouin, et al. Global estimate of aerosol direct radiative forcing from satellite measurements. Nature. Dec. 29, 2005. 1138-1141
    Streets et al. Two-decadal aerosol trends as a likely explanation of the global
    dimming/brightening transition. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS. 2006. 33, L15806

    John, the Bellouin paper was discussed on RC some years ago, with my comment at #6 and following comments:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/an-aerosol-tour-de-forcing/ The discussion was the shortest ever on RC, I suppose…
    The Streets paper supposes that global dimming and (sulphate) aerosols are linked, but that is contradicted by the figures from China, where incoming sunlight increased since 1985, while sulphate emissions soared… As global dimming was a worldwide item, even at places far away from pollution, this points more to cloud cover and water vapor than to aerosols. See the trends at different places on earth:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/data/308/5723/847/DC1/1

  81. Mikel Mariñelarena (04:32:07),
    “…there is no other way to explain the contradiction between models and observations pointed out by Lindzen than to plug in a high negative aerosol forcing.”
    It might be that models simply cannot predict changes in a chaotic system. No climate model has been accurate yet in its predictions. For example, no GCM predicted the non-warming of most of the past decade; they all predicted steady increases in temperature [no doubt due to the way they were programmed].
    Clouds could also explain much of the contradiction between models and observations, as could changes in the AMO/PDO.
    The more we learn, the more insignificant one particular forcing appears: that of carbon dioxide. The IPCC still insists on a preposterously high number, 3 – 4.5, or even higher.
    Svante Arrenhius started the whole CO2/climate sensitivity issue in 1896, postulating that a doubling of CO2 would cause a global temperature rise of 5°C. [In a follow-up paper in 1906, which climate alarmists never mention, Arrenhius drastically lowered his estimate to 1.6°C.]
    Hansen’s 1988 estimate was 4.2°C; the latest IPCC projection is 3.2°C. [it has been steadily declining in every subsequent IPCC assessment report]. In 2008 Hansen lowered his estimate to 2.5°C. And numerous climatologists, including Prof Richard Lindzen, Dr Roy Spencer and many others estimate climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 to be less than 0.5°C.
    Any number at or below 1°C means there is really nothing to worry about regarding CO2. Burning all the world’s fossil fuels would not double atmospheric CO2 from current levels.
    And based on James Hansen’s routine wild-eyed predictions of catastrophe, I seriously doubt his claim that the effect of aerosols is as dire as he claims [although aerosols – like almost everything else – are more of a problem than CO2].
    The information above, and many more references are here if you need them: click

  82. Good call.
    The more we learn, the more insignificant one particular forcing appears: that of carbon dioxide. But less than 1C is not a problem.
    You guys need to realize that the minimun raise on “average” temperature means increase of energy on the atmosphere.
    Again, another “conclusion” based on computer models, not on observation. It was enough to assume values that were convenient to their man made global warming story.

  83. I just heard Obama give a speech in Vegas where he stated that China is well ahead of the USA in so-called clean energy. What a joke.

  84. Given that these are the same numpties who eagerly published Mann’s article about the hockey stick, but refused to print a more erudite article by McIntyre, Nature magazine needs a major overhaul of its approval process. Its credibility has been severely diminished by its unscientific approach to AGW.
    As an after-thought, does Nature receive any funding from the IPCC, Greenpeace or Al Gore?

  85. “But this effect would not be felt uniformly across the globe and would last only a few decades. In the long run, CO2 would always prevail, and the world could experience a rapid warming effect if the skies were cleaned up decades down the road.”
    Oh please!
    When we’re completely bankrupt as a nation we will either start making our own disposable plastic tampon tubes, or not, or we will learn to get back to basics, or not. And we will pay the consequences, whatever small personal mistakes we are overlooking in all the colossal, global furor over something as uncontrollable as humans..
    Let’s have a moratorium on any interpretations of their research by scientists for five, no TEN years. Better yet, off with their heads!
    Until they recognize that humans are an absolutely uncontrollable part of nature, just as are volcanoes, earthquakes, and weather, I’ll not partake of their catastrophic fairy tales, no not even one, as life is 100% fatal. Your very birth was a natural catastrophe as you were dead meat from the moment you were conceived. Get over it. Have a baby, grow up.
    I still think these sycophants are sophomoric transhumanists. There, I finally stooped to name calling.
    Anthony knows, by now, how to rile up the base. Well done.

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