What is the Second Biggest Cause of Man-Made Global Warming?

Soot. The Washington Post is reporting a new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research that has concluded that soot from fires, diesels, and power generation is a big factor in recent global warming. As the Post observes:

Soot ranks as the second-largest human contributor to climate change, exerting twice as much of an impact as previously  thought, according to an analysis released Tuesday.

The four-year, 232-page study of black carbon, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, shows that short-lived pollution known as soot, such as emissions from diesel engines and wood-fired stoves, has about two-thirds the climate impact of carbon dioxide. The analysis has pushed methane, which comes from landfills and other forces, into third place as a human contributor to global warming.

The good news is that since soot does not stay long in the atmosphere efforts to reduce this kind of health-damaging pollution could reduce man-made global warming by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the near term. 

By the way, NASA says since 1880 that the planet has warmed by 0.8 degree Celsius (about 1.4 degree Fahrenheit) and that two-thirds of that warming has occurred since 1975. Two-thirds of past warming nets out to about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1975. Interesting.

I was somewhat bemused by this observation in the Post article:

Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, identified black carbon in 2008 as the second-biggest human contributor to climate change. But many researchers questioned his analysis because it was based on observations rather than computer modeling.

Computer modeling trumps empirical observations? Really?

The next question is: What else might the computer climate models be overlooking?

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  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    What else might the computer climate models be overlooking?

    Hot air emissions from DC.

  • fish||

    What else might the computer climate models be overlooking?

    The canine menace! No problem...law enforcement is on it!

    http://tinyurl.com/procedureswerefollowed

  • Pro Libertate||

    Based on observations rather than computer modeling. Could he have meant anecdotal observations? I sure hope so, because the scientific method is spinning in its grave, otherwise.

  • entropy||

    Based on observations rather than computer modeling.

    That's just biological computer modeling. You feed your observations into the computer as initial data. GIGO, the computer does only precisely what you tell it to. The only difference is they're made of silicon.

  • Drake||

    I though soot darkened skies were keeping Europe cooler? They warmed up when their air became cleaner.

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.c.....l_warming/

  • fish||

    The four-year, 232-page study of black carbon, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research....

    Clearly more racist research.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Not at all. See, the black carbon isn't race black, it's evil black. Think Mordor.

  • Delroy||

    So, no more minstrel shows?

  • entropy||

    the Journal of Geophysical Research that has concluded that soot from fires, diesels, and power generation is a big factor in recent global warming.

    Doesn't that mean we should be subsidizing more soot, seeing as how all the recent global warming has been either nonexistant or negative warming?

  • WTF||

    Yeah, what recent global warming? There has been no net warming since 1998.

  • Torontonian||

    "What else might the computer climate models be overlooking?"

    1. Urban heat island effect on raw temperature data.
    2. Adjustments to raw temperature data that add a warming bias.
    3. Cloud feedback.
    4. Solar activity.

    and most importantly...

    5. Several billion years of earth's climactic history in which there is not one single episode of either 'runaway warming' or a 'tipping-point' despite atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global average temperatures that were much higher than current levels.

  • entropy||

    4. Solar activity.

    Well duh. What could the sun have to do with the temperature on Earth? That thing is millions of miles away.

  • Torontonian||

    The models only look at TSI (total solar irradiance) which is remarkably consistent at around 1361 W/m^2 ... the small changes in insolation are too little to account for the observed warming.

    What the models don't consider is changes in solar activity, namely the level of particle emissions that rise and fall with sunspot counts. This solar wind is now theorized to impact the amount of cosmic background radiation that enters the earth's atmosphere, which in turn impacts cloud formation, which in turn affects temperatures.

    I'm still skeptical over this theorized chain of causation, but past periods of low solar activity do seem to correlate with cooler periods on earth, and I'm confident that the cool periods on earth weren't the cause of the lower than normal sunspot counts.

  • Zeb||

    I think you mean cosmic rays rather than background radiation.

  • entropy||

    You could also say:

    6. Cosmic activity.

    That Danish expiriment as CERN proved it's possible for things happening in other solar systems altogether to effect our weather.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    7. Their own fallibility.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Scientific Method, bitchez!

  • BarryD||

    Apparently those of us who are still saying, "All our technology is neat, but where the fuck is our jet pack?" have a very good point.

  • free2booze||

    What is the Second Biggest Cause of Man-Made Global Warming?

    Assault weapons and high capacity magazines?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    First is tax breaks for the wealthy but not well-connected.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...NASA says since 1880 that the planet has warmed by 0.8 degree Celsius (about 1.4 degree Fahrenheit) and that two-thirds of that warming has occurred since 1975.

    Their satellites have told them that the globe's single temperature was cooler in 1880.

  • Torontonian||

    Considering NASA was only created in 1958, I don't know if they're the most credible source on the average global temperature in 1880.

  • Tim||

    The science is used to stifle all dissent, unless you're arguing about GMO foods, in whaich case they science means nothing.

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    But...hockey stick. (Oh and hurray for the end of the lockout!)

  • DJF||

    The Science is Settled, except for things we did not think about.

  • ||

    Page 228 of the study gives the bad news. Sources that emit black carbon also emit cooling pollutants as well. These "black carbon-rich" sources together have a nearly-neutral effect on global temperature. Controlling the sources of black carbon will not likely cool the Earth and may warm it very slightly.

    The good news is that controlling black carbon sources (including the cooling pollutants that get emitted with black carbon) improves human health considerably, because these pollutants are very toxic.

    I was somewhat bemused by this observation in the Post article...

    Where was it? I didn't see it in the article.

    Truthfully, the observation doesn't make much sense, considering the models are based on measurements and refined by them, and the study itself makes dozens of references to climate modeling and does some modeling itself.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    In the last days of the Clinton Administration, as I recall, the EPA rammed through a bunch of rules covering diesel particulate emissions. In terms of marginal gain, they were better than a lot of other things on the eco-wishlist, but they way it was done caused such a big hubbub it got them rescinded.

    Of course, Clinton's EPA looks like strip mining river polluting scorched earth devil worshippers compared to what we have now.

  • Oso Politico||

    'What else might the computer climate models be overlooking?': The next Miss Universe?

  • masmalute||

  • masmalute||

    The models only look at TSI (total solar irradiance) which is remarkably consistent at around 1361 W/m^2 ... the small changes in insolation are too little to account for the observed warming.

    What the models don't consider is changes in solar activity, namely the level of particle emissions that rise and fall with sunspot counts. This solar wind is now theorized to impact the amount of cosmic background radiation that enters the earth's atmosphere, which in turn impacts cloud formation, [url=http://www.jenniferbridal.com/]best bridal dress[/url]which in turn affects temperatures.

    I'm still skeptical over this theorized chain of causation, but past periods of low solar activity do seem to correlate with cooler periods on earth, and I'm confident that the cool periods on earth weren't the cause of the lower than normal sunspot counts.

  • masmalute||

  • hrsdty||

    0.8 degrees Celsius in 130 years? Bah, the world cooled FIFTEEN degrees Celsius in 100 years during the onset of the younger Dryas. Pretty much wiped out the whole paleolithic population of Europe. Don't get your panties in a bunch over single digit changes.

  • ||

    About 10,000 years ago global temperatures went from a glaciation period (kilometer high ice sheet covering New york state) to what can be called the modern warm temperatures of today in only a 50 year period time span.

  • ||

    The analysis has pushed methane, which comes from landfills and other forces, into third place as a human contributor to global warming.

    So where is water vapor?

    My understanding is that climate change needs water vapor to increase to make the kinds of temperature increases the IPCC has been predicting for 30 years (predictions that have not come true by the way).

    So if water vapor isn't even on the table what are we even talking about?

  • ||

    and that two-thirds of that warming has occurred since 1975.

    and the earth has seen no warming in 16 years...

    So all that warming was from 1975 to 1998.

    Weird how CO2 increases have been smooth but the warming is not.

    Almost as if they are not related at all.

  • Russell||

    Once upon a time we were repeatedly told on The Johnny Carson Show, Nightline and PBS that black carbon was black enough to plunge the earth into a life extinguishing 'nuclear winter dark renough to extinguish the sun for a Biblical 40 days and 40 nights with temperatures plunging below zero for months on end.

    "The extinction of Homo sapiens cannot be excluded" opined Carl Sagan , while Paul Ehrlich's dramatization warned us to expect "reports of people dying of thirst on the equator, because the water is frozen."

    The moral is that models can evolve more in a few decades than the ususal suspects, right and left, who make careers of their misrepresentation .

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