“Clearer Skies, Warmer Planet? The Paradoxical Impact of Lower Emissions Amid a Pandemic”

Climate alarmism often presents a single-sided view of environmental issues, highlighting the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions and promoting drastic measures to curb them. Recently, however, a study from Stockholm University has offered a more nuanced perspective on the issue, challenging the simplistic narrative of ‘less emissions equals a cooler planet.’

According to the study, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdowns in South Asia led to an unexpected consequence – warmer climate. While reduced air pollution emissions improved air quality, they also unmasked a climate-warming effect. The researchers found that the concentration of short-lived cooling particles, such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides, were greatly reduced, while the concentration of long-lived greenhouse gases remained largely unchanged.

These short-lived particles have a cooling effect because they reflect incoming solar radiation back into space. When their concentration decreases, as during the pandemic, this cooling effect diminishes, resulting in increased climate warming. The study reported a 7% increase in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, thereby raising temperatures.

The findings highlight a delicate balance and interconnectedness in our atmosphere, underscoring the complexity of climate dynamics.

Professor Örjan Gustafsson, who led the study, explained,

“During a couple of decades, emission reductions risk leading to net climate warming due to the ‘masking’ effect of air particles, before the temperature reduction from reduced greenhouse gas emissions takes over.”


Nevertheless, he urged that we still

“urgently need a powerful emission reduction.”


Because of course he did.

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Alexy Scherbakoff
June 3, 2023 10:09 pm

Hard to believe a 7% increase in solar radiation.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 3, 2023 10:53 pm

Climate Change activism will cause a climate catastrophe. It’s been actually mentioned before – the abrupt change from cooling to warming in the late ’70s all do to cleaning up emissions from cars and power plants, and pauses when there was a big increase in emissions when China, India and the rest of the world decided they wanted prosperity.

William Howard
Reply to  PCman999
June 4, 2023 6:21 am

activists never heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences – God must be getting a real chuckle out of all these climate alarmists that believe they can manage the climate by removing a tiny, miniscule, barely measureable amount of CO2 from the atmosphere

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  William Howard
June 4, 2023 6:49 am

Hopefully he’s not getting a real chuckle out of all the misery the climate alarmists are causing.

Reply to  PCman999
June 4, 2023 4:41 pm

“Climate Change activism will cause a climate catastrophe”

For more on this, see my article Net-Zero Catastrophe Beginning?”


The answer is “Yes”!

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 4, 2023 12:07 am

My first thought but what this guy’s doing is conflating Global with local to this measuring station
Get a solar power meter – El Sol is a fickle ting as seen from the ground.

There is soooooo much we’re not being told here and any of the links we see just loop back on themselves

He loves to get into the ‘Oh I’m so clever I understand radiation‘ when it comes to Sulphur aerosols but the rages an awful lot about Burning Biomass
OK, biomass will produce both BUT, the relative amount of soot/smoke and Sulphur will depend on whether it was fresh Biomass being burned or whether it was coal

Why important is that the coal burning would have slowed but agricultural biomass burning (household for cooking) would not.
Covid didn’t (obviously) kill people via Starvation ## hence agriculture continued throughout.
Agriculture, I would assert, is what makes the cloud the colour ‘Brown’
i.e. If it was Sulphur it would be white and if from coal it would be black/grey.
From agricultural burns it would take on a bluish tint.
The cloud is brown because it is dust from farms, roads and construction sites.
We all know these things. why don’t Climate Scientists?

Black dust especially would be a major coolant – not via any contrived radiation and reflection, simply because it presents low Albedo to the sun, absorbs across a wide spectrum and heats the air At Altitude = 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 feet above the ground
The atmosphere would simply dump that heat to space – trashing the GHGE as it does because GHGE says it should be ‘re-radiated in all directions’ and thus heat the Earth.
haha. It patently doesn’t

Gotta be one of the bigger things I see no mention is is clouds in the stratosphere coming from aircraft = contrails.
Get your solar power meter or even just some solar panels and watch when an aircraft leaves a trail between you and El Sol – his puny 7% turns into a gobsmacking 50%
Contrails all but vanished during lockdown and that alone would create the effect here.

This thing is riddled with Lies By Omission = junk

## You know me….
The very presence of the Brown Cloud is what caused Covid.
Not especially the virus/bug/germ itself – the brown cloud was/is comprised all the trace-elements that human critters need and use in their metabolisms and Immune Systems.
All animals in fact. It is why Bird Flu raged across the world where it did this winter = a respiratory disorder similar to Human Flu and Covid (a respiratory disorder)

The UK authorities haven’t any clue where it came from apart from blaming it on wild birds spreading it around the globe. Hence the lockdown imposed on UK poultry flocks – to keep the tame birds away from the wild ones.

Bollox: All the birds got a similar disease to us because we’re all eating the same nutrient deficient muck that’s fraudulently passed off as ‘Food’

The tame/domestic chickens get a diet extremely high in grains and the wild birds, being = wild, get first dibs at the harvest = they get their diet/food stealing wheat/barley, rice, corn from farmers’ fields.
Their immune systems are as equally trashed as ours because their and our immunity to ‘most everything is blowing away in The Brown Cloud.
Read = Dust Bowl

It gets 2x and 3x worse because that brown cloud, whenever it rains, becomes a water-borne ‘cloud’ and so much more of every critter’s immune system washes away in torrents of brown (same stuff = same colour) muddy water.

Hence: ‘The Yellow River’
Originally called Great River (with water of normal ‘water colour’) – until the ploughs, fertilisers and herbicides moved into/onto its watershed – turning it what the Chinese call ‘yellow’ but we would call brown.
Actually orange = a mix of red & yellow iron oxides – so the shade of yellow/orange/brown indicates how advanced the erosion is

edit to ‘Its even worse (for the wild birds)
They will be stealing food from farmers’ fields while the crops are still freshly drenched with Glyphosate.
Poor little things – they haven’t a hope in hell.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Peta of Newark
June 4, 2023 9:44 am

“My first thought but what this guy’s doing is conflating Global with local to this measuring station”

That was one of my questions.

Coach Springer
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 4, 2023 5:31 am

I’m definitely in support of the hypothesis: clearer skies / warmer planet. But this article is tripping the BS detector.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Coach Springer
June 4, 2023 5:46 am

clearer skies and a warmer planet makes my sinusitis go away! damp/cold weather brings it back

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 4, 2023 6:47 am

TOA solar varies by about 91 W/m^2 between Jan and July:

91 / 1360 ~ 7%

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
June 4, 2023 9:25 am

Not so hard to believe a 7% increase solar radiation in South Asia. It’s almost always very hazy there.

June 3, 2023 11:06 pm

In the real world there’s no “Greenhouse Gases”!

People who, serious people and grown ups delivering nonsensical nonsense like that has documented they do not understand science.

Temperature potentials in the atmosphere is dictated by pressure, mass and gravity, CO2 is irrelevant and the closest we get to a “Greenhouse Gas” is, and has always been called “Water Vapor” – At best Water Vapor are only able to delay cooling, again, in the real world!!

William Howard
Reply to  roaldjlarsen
June 4, 2023 6:25 am

and they have lost all common sense

June 4, 2023 12:48 am

“”Climate alarmism often presents a single-sided view…””

In my lived experience (geddit?) climate alarmism always presents a single-sided view – anything else is, as they say, false balance.

Bob Weber
Reply to  Hans Erren
June 4, 2023 6:42 am

This warming trend from clearing skies was due to fewer clouds and less tropospheric UV.


This natural warming effect was wrongly conflated with a reduction in aerosols/particulates.

A worldwide cloudlessness pattern was established during the CV19 first two years, and it was a direct result of less tropical evaporation during the cooling La Niña, not from economics.

This state of affairs lead to higher ground insolation, heat, drought, and biological heat stresses.

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Hans Erren
Reply to  Bob Weber
June 4, 2023 8:22 am
Bob Weber
Reply to  Hans Erren
June 4, 2023 1:29 pm

Thanks for the interesting link Hans. I’ve used the KNMI TEMIS data since 2020, which is for tropospheric ozone and UV index, produced daily since 2002. It is difficult to imagine the KNMI data quality is equal in all the years since 1906.

In keeping with the post topic, I would say after looking at the data presented in that article, they didn’t see the effect I mentioned, the effect of lower TSI during the post-2000 years that has caused these two pauses, and fewer clouds.

It is also difficult to imagine that fewer aerosols didn’t have a brightening effect.

Can we then infer from the 30% drop in cumulative sunshine [TEMIS UVI] from 2020 to 2021 as a sign there were more aerosols in 2021?

Or was it from more clouds driven by higher TSI progressing from it’s minimum?

June 4, 2023 1:13 am

Story tip:

“SADIQ Khan’s staff at City Hall are being encouraged to join militant eco clowns at Extinction Rebellion.

And the taxpayer-funded Greater London Authority is laying on “climate cafes” for employees – because bottling up global warming concerns risks “anxiety and isolation”.

What warming?

John XB
June 4, 2023 3:36 am

‘…unexpected consequence – warmer climate.’

Tut! You mean warmer weather. Weather is short term, climate is very long term.

And in wattsupwiththat – standards are slipping.

June 4, 2023 6:53 am

“Scientists” have become the snake oil salesman of old, usually found only at carnival midways, or traveling the backroads of any country. Now they can be found at all “educational” institutions throughout the world. They are their own worst enemies, as they continue to blather about something over which they have no idea about and are unable to control. And they brag about it.
Time for a clean sweep of all the institutions proposing a “crisis” which does not exist. Well, except for in their own little minds and how to fleece more taxpayer dollars from the governments seeking more power via more control over the daily lives of all. Weed them all out and send them to deserted islands somewhere in the middle of nowhere. They won’t survive for long. A good thing.

Steve Oregon
June 4, 2023 8:35 am

It’s been reported frequently that the COVIC lockdowns resulted in a 7% reduction in CO2 emissions. Yet there was no detected reduction or impact on atmospheric CO2.
I don’t know who came up with the 7%.
I asked ChatGPT. It seems the 7% emissions reduction came from Mr. Nobody.
I suspect it may have been significantly more.

Who determined the covid lockdown reduction of CO2 emissions was 7%?

A. ChatGPT

The COVID lockdown’s impact on reducing CO2 emissions by 7% is a general estimate that has been reported by various organizations and researchers. It is not attributed to a specific individual or organization but rather based on global data and analysis.
The estimation of a 7% reduction in CO2 emissions during the COVID lockdown period was primarily derived from comparing the actual emissions during the lockdown period to the emissions during the same period in previous years. As economic activities and transportation were significantly restricted in many parts of the world during the lockdowns, it resulted in reduced energy consumption and emissions.
Multiple entities, including research institutions, international organizations, and environmental agencies, have conducted studies and published reports on the impact of the lockdowns on CO2 emissions. These studies have used different methodologies and data sources to arrive at their estimates. However, it’s important to note that the exact reduction may vary depending on the specific timeframe, geographical location, and other factors considered in the analysis.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steve Oregon
June 4, 2023 3:00 pm

You cannot trust ChatGPT. It has presented false information as proven facts on a number of occasions (three that I’m aware of).

One should fact-check ChatGPT before using any of the data it supplies. It might be supplying you with false data.

Andy Pattullo
June 4, 2023 8:46 am

Imagine an army entering into what will prove to be a long, drawn-out armed conflict, with losses from artillery, air attacks, gunfire, injuries, disease and disruptions of normal services that support society, ultimately threatening the survival of an entire nation. Now imagine the one overriding concern in the heads of the military “leadership” is how an increase in army vehicle emissions may subtly alter the palatability of army rations leading to a theoretical risk of increasing mild cases of indigestion among a small number of troops. Now imagine further that all strategic and tactical decisions are made entirely for the goal of reducing those emissions. There you have the logic of the Net Zero crowd.

E. Schaffer
June 4, 2023 9:23 am
  1. The skies were clearer, but there was no warming. Instead we saw some record lows in Europe in April/May 2020. Neither was there some “global” warming according to temperature records.
  2. There is no distinction between aerosols and aviation induced cirrus (massively affected by lockdowns), nor between direct and indirect sun light. Both aerosols and ice particles increase diffuse SW radiation on the expense of direct SW. The 7% figure is most certainly only true as an increase in direct SW.
  3. This presentation by Charles Long (NOAA) should be helpful..

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