Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Burning Fossil Fuels Has A Measurable Cooling Effect On The Climate

Date:
January 19, 2004
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
Atmospheric researchers have provided observational evidence that burning fossil fuels has a direct impact on the solar radiation reflectivity of clouds, thereby contributing to global climate change.

Atmospheric researchers have provided observational evidence that burning fossil fuels has a direct impact on the solar radiation reflectivity of clouds, thereby contributing to global climate change.

Joyce Penner, professor in the University of Michigan Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, U-M graduate student Yang Chen, and assistant professor Xiquan Dong from the University of North Dakota Department of Atmospheric Science, reported their findings in the Jan. 15 issue of the journal Nature.

Most evidence that increased levels of fossil fuel particles (aerosols) affects the reflectivity of clouds, thereby producing a cooling effect on the climate, has been indirect. "This made it difficult to determine the impact this phenomena, known as the indirect aerosol effect, has on the global climate," Penner said. "Our data makes the direct connection and opens new areas of study."

Solar radiation, which adds to global warming, is reflected back into space by clouds. Cloud droplets are increased with higher levels of aerosols, allowing for less radiation, or heat, to reach the lower atmosphere. The end result is a measurable cooling effect on the climate.

Using atmospheric data gathered from a site in Oklahoma, a typical continental site with a high concentration of aerosols, and a typical Arctic site in Barrow Alaska with low aerosol concentration, the researchers were able to show that the difference in cloud reflectivity at the two sites was caused by the difference in aerosol levels. The researchers also provided important evidence that the computer simulation model used in the study was capable of estimating cloud optical properties determined over a broad range of aerosol concentrations.

"This study is important for two reasons," Penner said. "First, it provides evidence that there is some cooling of the climate due to anthropogenic aerosols. Second, the simulation model we used has been shown to be a valuable tool in determining more directly the impact of aerosols on the climate."

Penner cautioned that over longer time scales in the future, the climate cooling due to the indirect aerosol effect will be minimal when compared to the climate warming of carbon dioxide. "We've shown that there's more work to be done to discover all of the various ways we affect the climate."

For more information, visit http://aoss.engin.umich.edu/ and http://www.nature.com/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Burning Fossil Fuels Has A Measurable Cooling Effect On The Climate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040119082910.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2004, January 19). Burning Fossil Fuels Has A Measurable Cooling Effect On The Climate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040119082910.htm
University Of Michigan. "Burning Fossil Fuels Has A Measurable Cooling Effect On The Climate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040119082910.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

Raw: 12 More Bodies Found on Japan Volcano

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A dozen more bodies were found Wednesday as Japanese rescuers resumed efforts to find survivors and retrieve bodies of those trapped by Mount Ontake's eruption. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

Raw: Trapped Scientist Rescued from Cave in Peru

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) — A Spanish scientist, who spent 12 days trapped about 1300 feet underground in a cave in Peru's remote Amazon region, was rescued on Tuesday. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins