Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increased solar radiation requires additional CO2 reduction of 50 million tonnes, analysis finds

Date:
March 9, 2010
Source:
Tilburg University
Summary:
The recently observed reduction in air pollution implies that more solar radiation reaches Earth’s surface. This could lead to a far more rapid increase in Earth’s temperature in the coming decades than has previously been expected. In order to successfully combat global warming, it is crucial that scientists incorporate increases in CO2 emissions reductions as well as reductions in air pollution in the calculations, according to a new analysis based on unique solar radiation data collected from weather stations between 1959 and 2002.

The recently observed reduction in air pollution implies that more solar radiation reaches the Earth's surface. This could lead to a far more rapid increase in the Earth's temperature in the coming decades than has previously been expected based on calculations of CO2 emissions alone.

In order to successfully combat global warming, it is crucial that scientists incorporate both effects -- reductions in air pollution and increases in CO2 emissions -- in the calculations. These are the claims of econometricians Jan Magnus, Bertrand Melenberg, and Chris Muris from Tilburg University based on unique solar radiation data collected from weather stations between 1959 and 2002. Their calculations show that in order to prevent an increase in global temperatures of more than two degrees we will have to reduce CO2 emissions by an additional 50 million tonnes to compensate for the increased solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface.

Everyone is familiar with the effect of CO2 emissions on the Earth's temperature: the greenhouse effect. Less well known is the effect of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface, and its development over time. Besides solar fluctuations, the amount of radiation is also affected by small particles called aerosols. The more aerosols are present in the atmosphere, the less solar radiation reaches the Earth. Large quantities of aerosols actually help to cool down the Earth and to temper ('dim') the greenhouse effect. Without this reduction in solar radiation, the Earth's temperature would have increased by an additional one degree during the last fifty years.

Human-made pollution

Human-made pollution affects the quantity of aerosols in the atmosphere: soot particles emitted by cars, for example, exacerbate aerosol concentrations. Measures to reduce soot emissions and the subsequent pollution have been adopted by numerous countries in recent years. These measures have reduced the quantity of aerosols in the atmosphere, thus allowing more solar radiation to reach the Earth's surface, and increasing global temperatures.

The statistical analysis in this study uses solar radiation data over a 40-year period. Based on these data, the researchers at Tilburg University conclude that, given the increased levels of solar radiation, existing global warming forecasts for the next few years could be far too conservative. They claim that in order to compensate for the increased levels of solar radiation, greater efforts will be needed to reduce CO2 emissions. If action is not taken soon, global warming could accelerate and temperatures could soar by more than four degrees instead of the agreed maximum target of two degrees. The researchers developed a statistical model to separate the impact on temperature of the two effects. This produces different scenarios that demonstrate the effect on temperature of varying solar radiation levels and CO2 emissions.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Tilburg University. "Increased solar radiation requires additional CO2 reduction of 50 million tonnes, analysis finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309083700.htm>.
Tilburg University. (2010, March 9). Increased solar radiation requires additional CO2 reduction of 50 million tonnes, analysis finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309083700.htm
Tilburg University. "Increased solar radiation requires additional CO2 reduction of 50 million tonnes, analysis finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309083700.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) Iceland evacuates an area north of the country's Bardarbunga volcano, as the country's civil protection agency says it cannot rule out an eruption. Authorities have already warned airlines. As Joel Flynn reports, ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) China's energy revolution could do more harm than good for the environment, despite the country's commitment to reducing pollution and curbing its carbon emissions. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) Aluminum giant, Novelis, has partnered with Red Hare Brewing Company to introduce the first certified high-content recycled beverage can. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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