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Posted: 12/25/2005 2:49:58 PM EDT
education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,9830,1672447,00.html


Pollutants ward off global warming, study finds

· Research prompts rethink into effect of aerosols
· Particles reflect more heat than previously assumed

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Thursday December 22, 2005
The Guardian

Cutting air pollution could trigger a greater surge in global warming than previously thought, suggesting future rises in sea level and other environmental consequences have been underestimated, climate scientists report today.

The warning comes after researchers investigated the effect of fine particles known as aerosols on climate change. Aerosols - particles smaller than one hundredth of a millimetre - are churned out from factory chimneys, from the burning of fossil fuels and forest fires, although sea salt and dust particles swept up by desert storms add to levels detected in the atmosphere.

Because the particles are so light, they remain aloft for long periods, where they cool the Earth by reflecting radiation from the sun back out to space. Higher levels of aerosols lead to the formation of brighter clouds made up of smaller water droplets, which reflect still more of the sun's warming radiation. Cutting down on aerosols by improving air quality means that the Earth will in future be less shielded against the sun's rays.

Writing in the journal Nature today, scientists at the Meteorological Office and the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that climate models used to predict future global warming have badly underestimated the cooling effect of aerosols.

"We found that aerosols actually have twice the cooling effect we thought," said Nicolas Bellouin, a climate modeller at the Met Office. The consequence is that as air quality improves and aerosol levels drop, future warming may be greater than we currently think."

Dr Bellouin's study suggests that even by conservative estimates, climate models have got the impact of aerosols on the climate wildly wrong. "The discrepancy between the models and our observations is not good news," he said.

The scientists used images from a US satellite called Modis to look at how much sunlight aerosols in the atmosphere reflect back to space on cloud-free days. Using another satellite called Toms, they were able to separate readings for the effect of smaller aerosols produced by natural processes from those produced by human activity.

Scientists had assumed that the amount of sunlight reflected by aerosols from industry and fuel burning was tiny compared to the extra reflective cloud cover they caused, but Dr Bellouin's research suggests the processes are equally important. Dr Bellouin says climate scientists will have to plug the new information into their models before they can be sure of the implications for global warming.

One possibility is that while the latest study shows scientists have underestimated the so-called direct effect of aerosols reflecting the sun's rays, they may have overestimated the indirect effect they have on cloud cover, meaning the overall error of climate models would not be serious.

Earlier this year, Peter Cox at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Winfrith, Dorset, warned that if the cooling effect of aerosols turned out to be greater, it could trigger faster global warming.

"It's quite a bizarre thing, because the last thing you want to suggest to people is that it would be a good idea to have dirty air, but as far as climate change is concerned, that's right. Everyone would be getting asthma, but the environment would be cooler.

"That said, the direct effects of air quality, particularly in urban areas, are so important to human health, that it would be crazy to think of anything other than health damage," he said.

If the Met Office calculations are right, they suggest the atmosphere's temperature is also more responsive to carbon dioxide than scientists believe.

"If the cooling influence of aerosols is larger, it implies that the warming from the carbon dioxide must be larger than we think to match the warming we've seen in the past 100 years.

"And if that's the case, future climate change will be more than we have expected with air quality improvements," he said.



Sigh. One decade scientists are saying aerosols are bad. The next they are saying aerosols are good. And one decade they are saying that carbon dioxide isn't that much of an issue. The next, they are saying it's much worse than previously thought.

You know what I think? I don't think these people have a freaking clue. That's why I take all this global warming shit with a huge grain of salt. Their opinion changes direction as often as the wind. Yet some people hinge on their every word or every finding as if it were the word of God.

Wanna know my scientific hypothesis? I think we are FAR overestimating the importance of humans in relation to any potential climate change. Climate change was taking place long before humans occupied the earth. So it should come as no great shock we'll undergo more while we occupy the planet. It's just a shame some resort to kneejerk reactions and blame humans for the change and others are so arrogant as to think we mere humans can actually somehow control climate change in the first place. In the grand scheme of things, we are just piss ants, dust in the wind. The earth didn't need us to be created and it doesn't need us to sustain it. These all knowing scientists may eventually get a clue and realize this....as well as realizing they aren't quite as smart as they think they are (or as important as they'd like to think).
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 3:20:23 PM EDT
This years hula-hoop… global warming the idiots delight.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 6:52:40 PM EDT
Just a bunch of egghead crackpots angling for research grant money. Chicken little theories based on junk science to scare politicians into showering them with cash.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:24:13 PM EDT
The agenda is all about the grant $$$.

Some of the most dangerous words ever spoken have been, "...a new study shows..." The earth - the universe - exists on the basis of cyclical fluctuation. I'm all for conservation & smart resource use for its own sake, but I doubt several generations could put a dent in the scheme of things compared to the sudden, dramatic shifts brought about by natural catastrophy (eg. super valcanoes, large-scale meteor impacts, tectonic activity, etc.).

Take all "studies" w/ a large grain of salt.

Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:27:58 PM EDT
Just a bunch of egghead crackpots angling for research grant money. Chicken little theories based on junk science to scare politicians into showering them with cash.


+1

That says it all!
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:31:21 PM EDT
I LOVE stories like this. Save the planet by polluting more!
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:57:35 PM EDT
RIIIIIGHT and all the companies against the global warming theory, for them it's not about money. They do it for the noble truth!

Read the article again, it's not saying Global warming does'nt exsist all it says is that pollutants may slow it down. SO WHAT? SO well be colder and all have Emphasema? Yippie!
And again people don't understand science because they are ignorant.
A perfect example is the concept of "pollution" One creatures pollution is anothers paradise!
For example suppose you had a lake that had human waste in it and was declared "poisoned" with a sign and had dead fish floating ETC ETC. Does that mean the lake is devoid of life? Not at all, All it means is that there is an imbalance that causes all around ecological disaster. But guess what? some of the creatures in the lake are loving it! The Micro-fauna & Flora that thrive on human waste are having a good old time! they are so populous they have crowded out all the small plants and other micro life, that leads to the death of the small fish, which leads to the starvation of the large fish. They are so numerous they consume all the oxygen and fill the pond with Co2. therefore all the O2 breathers die. The excess of CO2 causes most plants to die off. This causes all the insects nearby to flee or die. All amphibians will die as well. And of course any human being who swims in the water will either die or become ill as he ingests the little nasty critters. But in the end someone could come along and claim "The lake is teeming with life" and he would'nt be lieing. Or he could say that everything in the lake is "found normally in nature" and he'd also be right. The nasty critters are natural as is human poop But the lake is still polluted and that asshole is trying to fool you from your lack of knowledge about the enviroment.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:15:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 8:49:49 AM EDT by Max_Mike]

Originally Posted By t-stox:
RIIIIIGHT and all the companies against the global warming theory, for them it's not about money. They do it for the noble truth!

Read the article again, it's not saying Global warming does'nt exsist all it says is that pollutants may slow it down. SO WHAT? SO well be colder and all have Emphasema? Yippie!
And again people don't understand science because they are ignorant.
A perfect example is the concept of "pollution" One creatures pollution is anothers paradise!
For example suppose you had a lake that had human waste in it and was declared "poisoned" with a sign and had dead fish floating ETC ETC. Does that mean the lake is devoid of life? Not at all, All it means is that there is an imbalance that causes all around ecological disaster. But guess what? some of the creatures in the lake are loving it! The Micro-fauna & Flora that thrive on human waste are having a good old time! they are so populous they have crowded out all the small plants and other micro life, that leads to the death of the small fish, which leads to the starvation of the large fish. They are so numerous they consume all the oxygen and fill the pond with Co2. therefore all the O2 breathers die. The excess of CO2 causes most plants to die off. This causes all the insects nearby to flee or die. All amphibians will die as well. And of course any human being who swims in the water will either die or become ill as he ingests the little nasty critters. But in the end someone could come along and claim "The lake is teeming with life" and he would'nt be lieing. Or he could say that everything in the lake is "found normally in nature" and he'd also be right. The nasty critters are natural as is human poop But the lake is still polluted and that asshole is trying to fool you from your lack of knowledge about the enviroment.





See what I mean... Talk about human poop and excess CO2 production. Comic book environmentalism.

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ETA:

We are supposed to take global warming proponents seriously?

Global warming proponents like the NYTs who’s stated position is no contrary evidence should be allowed to be heard… so they will not report any contrary evidence.

Global warming proponents who have been caught falsifying data, who ignore data that is contrary to the orthodoxy.

Global warming proponents who use computer models to predict future events… computer models that when run backwards do NOT coincide with know data. Here is a clue… a computer model that when run backward in time that does not give results equal to the know history is WORTHLESS for predicting future events.

Global warming is pseudo-religious junk science... if global warming is happening humans did not cause it and cannot effect the outcome one way or another. Pseudo-religious dogma disguised as science that is no more science than INTELLEGENT DESIGN.

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