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Black Carbon Aerosols May Cause Half Arctic Warming

Page history last edited by Malcolm 15 years, 2 months ago

Dear Ross,

As I believe I pointed out privately, the pertinent point left out of this news article is that the 1 C change in temperature since 1870 attributed to black carbon aerosol forcing is about 3 or 4 times greater than what the IPCC claimed in 2007 (although they did at least admit in a footnote as it were that 'level of scientific understanding' is 'very low' on black carbon...).

At any rate, the following article goes nicely with this (which the IPCC chose to ignore):


Matsui, T., and R. A. Pielke (2006), Measurement-based estimation of the spatial gradient of aerosol radiative forcing, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L11813, doi:10.1029/2006GL025974.


Abstract: This paper diagnoses the spatial mean and the spatial gradient of the aerosol radiative forcing in comparison with those of well-mixed green-house gases (GHG). Unlike GHG, aerosols have much greater spatial heterogeneity in their radiative forcing. The heterogeneous diabatic heating can modulate the gradient in horizontal pressure field and atmospheric circulations, thus altering the regional climate. For this, we diagnose the Normalized Gradient of Radiative Forcing (NGoRF), as a fraction of the present global heterogeneous insolation attributed to human activity. Although the GHG has a larger forcing (+1.7 Wm-2) as measured than those of aerosol direct (~1.59 Wm-2) and possible indirect effect (~1.38 Wm-2) in terms of a spatially averaged top-of-atmosphere value, the aerosol direct and indirect effects have far greater NGoRF values (~0.18) than that of GHG (~0.003) [my emphasis].


My take on what this is saying, in layman's terms, is that we have hidden from ourselves the localised and far greater-in-magnitude, and far more dangerous, effects of aerosols (as well as albedo changes due to land-use changes) by averaging everything globally. Cooling is produced in some locations; warming in others (e.g. apparently in the Arctic), and all of this is lost in the global average. Thus, we fooled ourselves into believing that CO2 caused it all.

Best regards,




posted to

ClimateConcern Yahoo Group

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