Study confirms soot’s role in global warming

By on January 22, 2013
Fourmile Canyon wildfire

An international study confirms black carbon, or soot, contributes more to global warming than previously thought.

The study is the first to look into black carbon and its role in climate change and was recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It details some of the ways soot contributes, such as promoting the formation of clouds and the melting of ice. Many sources of black carbon, including diesel engines and forest fires, emit other heat-trapping particles in addition to soot.

The report notes that black carbon is a significant cause of warming in the northern hemisphere, and its effects can be felt in parts of the northern United States, Canada and Europe. It names soot as the second biggest contributor to climate warming after carbon dioxide.

It took four years to conduct the study, which was completed through a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry project.

Image: Fourmile Canyon wildfire (Credit: NASA)

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