Another hole in the climate models – no lamp black forcing

Kerosene Lamp

Smoke emitted by simple wick lamps, similar to the one shown here, was found to be a significant but previously overlooked source of global black carbon. These lamps are used by hundreds of millions of households, and can be replaced by cleaner, affordable alternatives. (Ajay Pillarisetti photo)

Interesting point, but I wonder how such a change would come about when people often can’t afford an alternative?

Let there be clean light: Kerosene lamps spew black carbon, should be replaced, study says

By Sarah Yang, Media Relations BERKELEY —

The primary source of light for more than a billion people in developing nations is also churning out black carbon at levels previously overlooked in greenhouse gas estimates, according to a new study led by researchers at UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois.

Results from field and lab tests found that 7 to 9 percent of the kerosene in wick lamps — used for light in 250-300 million households without electricity — is converted to black carbon when burned. In comparison, only half of 1 percent of the emissions from burning wood is converted to black carbon.

Factoring in the new study results leads to a twentyfold increase in estimates of black carbon emissions from kerosene-fueled lighting.

The previous estimates come from established databases used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others. One kilogram of black carbon, a byproduct of incomplete combustion and an important greenhouse gas, produces as much warming in a month as 700 kilograms of carbon dioxide does over 100 years, the authors said.

“The orange glow in flames comes from black carbon, so the brighter the glow, the more black carbon is being made,” said study principal investigator Tami Bond, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “If it’s not burned away, it goes into the atmosphere.”

The findings, published online this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, are coming out at the same time that the United Nations Climate Change Conference kicks off in Doha, Qatar. While officials from around the world are seeking effective policies and guidelines for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the study authors note that the simple act of replacing kerosene lamps could pack a wallop toward that effort.

“There are no magic bullets that will solve all of our greenhouse gas problems, but replacing kerosene lamps is low-hanging fruit, and we don’t have many examples of that in the climate world,” said study co-author Kirk Smith, professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and director of the Global Health and Environment Program. “There are many inexpensive, cleaner alternatives to kerosene lamps that are available now, and few if any barriers to switching to them.”

Smith pointed to lanterns with light-emitting diodes that can be powered by solar cells or even advanced cookstoves that generate electricity from the heat produced. Such technology, said Smith, is already available in developing countries.

The researchers used kerosene lamps purchased in Uganda and Peru and conducted field experiments there to measure the emissions. They repeated the tests in the lab using wicks of varying heights and materials, and kerosene purchased in the United States as well as in Uganda.

The study authors noted that converting to cleaner light sources would not only benefit the planet, it would help improve people’s health. A recent epidemiological study in Nepal led by Smith and other researchers at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, for example, found that women who reported use of kerosene lamps in the home had 9.4 times the rate of tuberculosis compared with those who did not use such lamps.

“Getting rid of kerosene lamps may seem like a small, inconsequential step to take, but when considering the collective impact of hundreds of millions of households, it’s a simple move that affects the planet,” said study lead author Nicholas Lam, a UC Berkeley graduate student in environmental health sciences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. Agency for International Development and Environmental Protection Agency helped support this research.

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“If they can’t afford bread, let them eat cake”

MarkW

So the solution to global warming is to allow poor people to become rich enough so that they can afford to replace inefficient lighting with more modern lighting?
That at least is a program that I could support.

View from the Solent

“The primary source of light for more than a billion people in developing nations is also churning out black carbon”
Black carbon. As oppposed to what sort of non-black carbon? Diamonds?

Stop Global Dumbing Now

Okay, Greenpeace, time to go back to whale oil! It’s the only logical conclusion of the “science” you paid for.

MarkW

Don’t Coleman style lanterns also use kerosene? Since they glow with a white light, I’m guessing they would produce little if any carbon black. I’m also guessing that they are more efficient than the style of lamp shown in the picture above.
For a fraction of the money that was wasted on Solyndra, we could buy every poor person in the world a Coleman style lantern.

MarkW

I’m willing to bet the Coleman style lanterns would also cost less and last a lot longer than the solar powered led lamps mentioned in the article.

CAGW crowd not interested if it doesn’t require tens of billions in annual grants to study, hundreds of billions in new taxes & trillions in lost economic activity due to greater government control.

Left out of the above press release:
” …. and our secret plan is to make fossil fuel so expensive they won’t be able to afford kerosene anyway”

Gary Pearse

Yep, how about replacing it with cheap clean coal fired power. They want to take away what they have and also not give them the only sane alternative. Since you need a fossil-fueled plant to back up the proposed solar and windmills (which don’t shine and blow just when you need them and they are not cheap. Why in heck do you ivory tower clones think these poor folk are using kerosene in the first place?

pat

These lamps cause tuberculosis? Huh?

gator69

“A recent epidemiological study in Nepal led by Smith and other researchers at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, for example, found that women who reported use of kerosene lamps in the home had 9.4 times the rate of tuberculosis compared with those who did not use such lamps.”
I would venture to guess that households using kerosene for lighting, probably have a number of other lifestyle differences that could cause TB. They are likely burning wood, or worse, for heat and cooking. Berkeley must be chock full of idiots.

Anopheles

Yes, they ought to all have electric light. And power plants to provide the juice. Or sit in the dark.
Do they realise that before kero there was whale oil, and candles, and rush lights, for thousands of years? I’m, pretty sure the earth knows how to eat the carbon.

I strongly suspect this is simply more foolishness. Next we will be told not to use charcoal to cook our food. I am biased of course as soon as I read IPCC I immediately relegate what ever is being said to the world of speculation and fiction.

commieBob

It’s sad that they have to use AGW to promote the replacement of kerosene lamps. TFA mentions the health benefits of replacing oil lamps. In addition, the replacement lamps would be much more efficient and would pay for themselves by using less fuel.
Bigger health and efficiency gains come by replacing open fires with efficient burners such as the Rocket Stove. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_stove Many ‘greenies’ seem to have a problem understanding it but technology is actually good for the environment and general human well-being.

When I was a kid and the power went out, my father fired up the old Aladdin kerosene lamp. It came off of a Southern Pacific Railroad Caboose. Aladdin has been making those lamps since the early 1900’s. It uses a mantle (like a Coleman lantern) to turn the heat into light. I remember that if I put a piece of paper at the top of the chimney, it would ignite it and I would get fussed at.. Lot’s of waste heat obviously. Once it was hot, there was no visible smoke that I recall. Maybe they just need to improve their kerosene lamps for now.

My first thought was that there was some much wrong in the PR write up of this study, I didn’t know where to begin. But then I thought, “Don’t poo-poo it; bring it on!”
For one thing, if lamp derrived black carbon is so bad, then modeler’s will have to dial back the CO2 sensitivity to account for black carbons ‘just realized’ contribution. Adding an element to your model doesn’t change the historical temperatures you need to match.
Who knows, maybe the shrinking Martian Ice Caps will finally make people admit “Oh, gosh, there is a stronger solar component than we modeled, too.”

John M

One kilogram of black carbon, a byproduct of incomplete combustion and an important greenhouse gas

Oh why, why, why, oh why don’t scientists insist on reading the PR releases before they got out?

Alexander Harvey

Not all kerosene/paraffin lamps are born equal.
There is a big difference between the amount of carbon emitted by naked wick lamps compared to chimney lamps (with or without a mantle) and a big difference in the light output.
I would wonder whether it would be preferable to get a better lamp rather than upgrade to LEDs/batteries/solar or to a combined heat and electricity producing cooking stove.
Alex

Cheap, reliable electricity benefits EVERYONE on the planet, and here we have the EPA doing everything they can to make CHEAP and RELIABLE electricity more scare

Pardon my French, but how in the hell can previous scientists’ studies overlook such an obvious source? It is not like each study is a lamp in the wilderness; they have earlier papers’ shoulders to stand n. NO ONE thought of this? What an indictment of methodology and thoroughness – for the entire field. Sloppy thinkers and sloppy science.
Steve Garcia

Chris @NJ_Snow_Fan

N hem BC emissions are not healthy for people and snow and ice pack.My feeling is Most BC deposits in the arctic region in the N. Hem are caused by high altitude Jet exhaust. Easy to control ground Black Carbon emissions and we would end up having healthier people and cleaner snow and packs for glaciers. My guess is there is about 70% (Except when All Gore files to S.Pole for visits) less BC in S.Hem then northern. That is one reason Antarctica snow and ice is growing with the low sun spot cycles not like N.Hem is my feeling.

While officials from around the world are seeking effective policies and guidelines for cutting greenhouse gas emissions
While continuing to find an excuse to jet around and party at taxpayer expense, officials sought additional rationales for collecting tax-free salaries, planning and controlling economies, and prescribing and limiting individual behaviors. To prevent the gravy train from blowing up, they continued to insist that Gaia had a temperature and that models trump reality.
Luckily back in the US, the EPA in a document mapping out its future plans laid out its adoption of Systems Theory/Systems Dynamics as laid out by Meadows in the controversial Limits to Growth in order to use “Science” to help protect public health. It was utterly delighted to now have so much power over the economy and planned to go on a hiring binge for “Scientists” with aspirations for planning with Big Data. It was also delighted that its new education People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) student grant initiative was bringing in plenty of prospective planners captured while their idealism greatly exceeded their knowledge.
The EPA was also excited about its global reach. Nothing that could be tied in to carbon seemed beyond its grasp as 2013 loomed. What a great time to be employed by the Predator State where no problem is too small nor behavior too inconsequential to be captured as part of the Ecosystem view of the world.

Eric H.

Really? Who funds this non-sense?

Enginear

Are those modern laterns? Sure a lamp without a chiminey will not burn efficiently nor produce a good light but lanterns with a glass chiminey will eliminate most of the problem here. In effect a latern with just a wick is a smudge pot.
Also, note that most of the carbon produced remains inside the building being lit. I attaches to any surface it contacts and is pretty hard to remove. Their conclusions are BS.
Barry Strayer

Jolly farmer

What a crazy world! Worrying about kerosene lamps as adding to “greenhouse gas problems”, and ignoring the fact that lighting homes with them leads to lung conditions.
Finding alternatives to kerosene lamps is a good thing. The “greenhouse gas problems” aspect is rubbish.

Doug Huffman

My diesel powered Welsbach mantle lamp produces light, heat, carbon dioxide and water vapor. There is no soot on the soot-bell.

“One kilogram of black carbon, a byproduct of incomplete combustion and an important greenhouse gas”
I thought Carbon was a solid.

John West

“The primary source of light for more than a billion people in developing nations is also churning out black carbon”
When are these people going to pay the developed world reparations for their pollution?
(/sarc)

Gail Combs

Leif Svalgaard says:
November 29, 2012 at 8:43 am
“If they can’t afford bread, let them eat cake”
__________________________
As I recall the person who said that lost her head…. We are more civilized now…Oh Wait.
One wonders if the politicians realize they, and not the advisors whispering in their ears, are the first in line when anger reaches explosive proportions.

Michael Tremblay

Wow, this report is filled with so many inaccurate observations it is difficult to know where to start.
First, black carbon is not a gas, let alone a greenhouse gas. It is a solid resulting from the incomplete combustion of a fuel (any fuel containing carbon, not just kerosene). Lack of oxygen during the combustion will result in small particles of solid carbon forming which forms a suspension of solids rising with the convection currents.
Second, the orange glow in the flame is a result of the infrared radiation emitted by the flame, not the formation of carbon black, and is indicative of the temperature of the flame at that point. If more oxygen is added the temperature will rise as more combustion takes place resulting in a flame of a different colour and complete combustion of the carbon with less carbon black forming and a brighter flame.
Third, if the technology were available to these homes to provide better light, IE electricity on a regular basis, they would be using it based on its cheaper cost, not because of some green initiative – these people are trying to survive, not satisfy some fanciful notion about preventing global warming.
Finally, and this is the most ridiculous, tuberculosis is not caused by carbon black, it is caused by a bacillus which is transmitted through the air by people in close contact with each other. Rising tuberculosis rates in these countries is the result of exposure to the bacillus which are becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant. By the way, you will also find tuberculosis rates are increasing in populations which do not use kerosene lamps.

Gail Combs

MarkW says:
November 29, 2012 at 8:48 am
I’m willing to bet the Coleman style lanterns would also cost less and last a lot longer than the solar powered led lamps mentioned in the article.
_________________________________
Make that Aladdin Oil Lamps – the world’s finest non electric lamps. They are quite beautiful too. link (we have an antique Aladdin sitting on the dinning room table)

There are more efficient kerosene lanterns than these simple open-wick ones, and they give off a more intense light. They must be pressurized with a built-in hand pump. That’s what would seem to be the best replacement for the 3rd world. There are pressurized Coleman lanterns starting at about $50. Click here:
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=coleman+lantern&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
There’s also a high-quality any-fuel lantern, the Brite-Lyt. It is the 5th generation of Petromax products, and there is a nickel-plated military version that can also function as a stove. But there are competitors using earlier versions that are cheaper. The Brite-Lyt costs $140 for the basic model. Here’s its link:
http://www.britelyt.com/lanterns.htm

DarrylB

Well, perhaps this would work to some degree. I am sure many of us have used solar energy for lighting. Not too much light! Might need a significant number of solar panels.
However, if Sarah and the researchers want to be convincing, I would suggest the researchers (and her) live at some (friendly) location for two to three weeks, where they can replace the kerosene with any of the sources they suggest. It might be that there are many unforeseen problems. I tire of someone suggesting what others can do when they are preaching from a distant comfortable environment.
—Or, maybe the researchers did just that when they were there and Sarah did not write about it.

Neil Jordan

Re Charles Bruce Richardson Jr. says: November 29, 2012 at 9:10 am
Aladdin lamps are very efficient producers of light. I have one for emergency lighting. The efficiency is gained by using the kerosene flame to heat the mantle to incandescence. To show that there is no free lunch, the incandescence comes from the thorium nitrate in the mantle. Thorium is one of the many naturally occurring radioactive elements. A similar mantle is used in the gas-fired lanterns.

FerdinandAkin

I am going out and buying a dozen or so Tiki Torches to light my back yard. I am putting Tiki Torches on my gift giving list for all my friends this Christmas season. I may have to start buying them by the gross.

Billy

I am guessing that households that cannot afford a lamp also has no access to a doctor for TB diagnosis.

John M says:
November 29, 2012 at 9:15 am

One kilogram of black carbon, a byproduct of incomplete combustion and an important greenhouse gas…

Oh why, why, why, oh why don’t scientists insist on reading the PR releases before they got out?

Maybe they did read it and didn’t realize the difference: that it’s a source of soot.
(Hence the brown clouds from Asia. Hence some of the melting of arctic ice.)

Gail Combs

I am sure this is what they want to replace those kerosene lamps picture

“For one thing, if lamp derrived black carbon is so bad, then modeler’s will have to dial back the CO2 sensitivity to account for black carbons ‘just realized’ contribution. Adding an element to your model doesn’t change the historical temperatures you need to match.”
There is no c02 sensitivity dial.
There is an aerosol dial. This dial exists because estimates of aerosols are not well know.

John F. Hultquist

Being a confirmed skeptic and cynic, I wonder who makes money from the sale of kerosene in Uganda? Will those same folks make money from the “lanterns with light-emitting diodes that can be powered by solar cells or even advanced cookstoves” as Kirk Smith (professor – public health) wants to have them use? Technology is not the problem.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
View from the Solent says:
November 29, 2012 at 8:47 am
“The primary source of light for more than a billion people in developing nations is also churning out black carbon”
Black carbon. As opposed to what sort of non-black carbon? Diamonds?

In certain parts of the USA, auto drivers have frequent accidents because of “‘black ice.” Many roads have a black surface because of the paving material but concrete is more gray than black. Then there are those roads that have volcanic cinders (more red than black). Nevertheless, no one ever claims gray ice or red ice – only black will do. Driving thru NE Oregon years ago I thought my car was being a bit unresponsive in the steering sense. I stopped and opened the door and without getting out I noticed the road with all its painted lines was covered in ice. Very clear ice.

TomH

This article is from one of our leading universities?
– Solar panel powered led lights that cost less than kerosene lanterns don’t exist, and if you live in a mud hut are not available anyway..
-Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterial infection, not kerosene lamps. Apparently no editor was available to review this before sent out.
“Getting rid of kerosene lamps may seem like a small, inconsequential step to take, but when considering the collective impact of hundreds of millions of households, it’s a simple move that affects the planet,” said study lead author Nicholas Lam, a UC Berkeley graduate student in environmental health sciences.”
– I would submit that getting rid of millions of kerosene lamps would not be “small and inconsequential” project to anyone that isn’t a graduate student at UC Berkeley.

When the cooling starts we’ll need to dot the great white north with black carbon plants, producing as much soot as we can to lower the albedo of the snow and ice. Thanks to the 3rd world for giving us a head start.

kwik

feet2thefire says:
November 29, 2012 at 9:21 am
“Pardon my French, but how in the hell can previous scientists’ studies overlook such an obvious source? It is not like each study is a lamp in the wilderness; they have earlier papers’ shoulders to stand n. NO ONE thought of this? ”
Everyone else thought about it, especially the sceptics. The “Team” denied to even think about it.
Time for the third world to start paying us mucho dollares for “black Carbon” release to the athmosphere.

JJ

Stephen Rasey says:
Adding an element to your model doesn’t change the historical temperatures you need to match.

Correct. Changing the historic temperatures is a separate step.
Steven Mosher says:
There is no c02 sensitivity dial.

Correct. There is a CO2 sensitivity goal. It varies depending on the political strategy of the ‘climate scientist’ but is in the vicinity of 4C per a doubling of CO2.
There is an aerosol dial. This dial exists because estimates of aerosols are not well know.
And because fiddling with things that are ‘not well know’ allows one to to achieve the desired CO2 sensitivity goal with some cover.

Cause and effect, simple cause and effect is lost on these people.
I always have at least 50 cents in my pocket. I have never contracted TB. Therefore; having at least 50 cents in one’s pocket prevents TB.

I’m not worrying. Most of these lamps will be blown out by the increased hurricane activity.

Steve C

“Advanced cookstoves that generate electricity from the heat produced”? A good few years ago now, my favourite amateur radio mag featured a photo of a fellow in Norway during WWII. He was using a kerosene lamp fitted with a collar consisting of an array of thermocouples, which generated enough electricity from the lamp’s waste heat to charge a battery to power his clandestine radio. If putting thermocouples in cooking stoves now counts as “advanced”, we must have de-evolved considerably over the last 70 years. Judging by the way our UK politicians are “de-evolving” our electricity supply at the moment, it’s an ongoing project.

Jimbo

One kilogram of black carbon, a byproduct of incomplete combustion and an important greenhouse gas, produces as much warming in a month as 700 kilograms of carbon dioxide does over 100 years, the authors said.

Now let’s take a look at the Asian haze over the Himalayas and soot in the Arctic ice.
Dr. James Hansen – NASA
“Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos”
http://www.pnas.org/content/101/2/423.long
Dr. James Hansen – NASA
“Distant origins of Arctic black carbon: A Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE experiment”
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2005/2004JD005296.shtml
J. Ming et. al.
“Black carbon record based on a shallow Himalayan ice core and its climatic implications”
http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00328571/

Mike Bromley the Kurd

Stop Global Dumbing Now says:
November 29, 2012 at 8:47 am
In the colloquium of the irascible Newfoundlander, “Whale Oil Beef Hooked”.

DirkH

commieBob says:
November 29, 2012 at 9:09 am
“It’s sad that they have to use AGW to promote the replacement of kerosene lamps. ”
You got it all wrong. Climate Scientists are the most supreme scientist as they can never err (the models make sure). So they have watched the misery of the humans and decided to climb down from their pedestal to give their advice. Stop using cheap Kerosene lamps, humans. It hurts the climate.
And as they are as pure as the driven snow, humanity will listen to their advice where humanity has never listened to lesser (expensive) scientists and promptly ban those lamps and send some blue helmets after every hut to confiscate them.
Of course, free advice on how to get better sources of lighting will be given as well.