Dirty snow melts polar ice 90% faster than the effect of greenhouse gases.
“When we inject dirty particles into the atmosphere and they fall on to snow, the net effect is we warm the polar latitudes,” said Professor Charlie Zender. “Dark soot can heat up quickly. It’s like placing tiny toaster ovens into the snow pack.”
Zender and his team found that since the Industrial Revolution dirty snow has caused more than one third of the total global warming.
Black carbon from forest fires and clearing also darkens snow and sea-ice surfaces plus increases solar absorption in the atmosphere. In some regions and seasons, dirty snow reduces snowpack depth and cover by 50%. The models and research are over several years, simulating the distribution and effects of natural aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere.
If much of the global warming is caused by dirt generated primarily from industrialized regions in Asia, Europe and the USA, the new solutions are cleaner-burning fuels, additional particle controls, and a shift in our focus only on carbon dioxide emissions.
[tip to Future Pundit]