Coal-derived emissions pouring from smokestacks across Asia are--perhaps counterintuitively--responsible for a pause in global warming in the decade following 1998, but that's no real reason to celebrate. The halt in rising temperatures is a result of the large amounts of sulfur in those emissions, which can have a cooling effect on the planet. But the huge spike in greenhouse gas emissions is still very real, and over time its delayed impacts will be realized when emerging countries rein in pollution.
At least, that's the latest on the global warming front via a paper released Monday by researchers at several universities, including Boston and Harvard Universities in the States and Finland's University of Turku. The halt in rising global temps from 1998 to 2008 is something of a mirage, the researchers say, and the effects of all that carbon that went into the air alongside the sulfur will become apparent in the long term.
The paper, if taken as truth, ties up a loose end for those who believe global warming is a man-made phenomenon. From 1998 to 2008, global temperatures were flat even as the developing world spewed tons upon tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, increasing global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels by at third. Some called this evidence that global temperatures and carbon emissions aren't as directly linked as some might like to think.
But most of those carbon emissions came from coal fueling the explosive growth of Asian economies, and with coal emissions comes sulfur. Sulfur is a key ingredient in the formation of aerosols, which form hazy cloud layers that reflect heat from the sun back into space. These aerosols, the paper argues, are responsible for the halt in rising temperatures.
But the halt in rising temperatures isn't likely to last, the researchers say. When emerging economies begin to take a harder line against pollution, those sulfur emissions will decline as well. And while sulfur can persist in the atmosphere for several years, eventually those aerosols will disperse and global temperatures will begin climbing again, this time with countless more tons of carbon already in the atmosphere.
So, you're saying that attempting to reduce pollution is actually the cause of global warming?
It's definitely a complicated topic, with solar activity, aerosol emissions, and the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide (while become more acidic) all contributing to the overall climate models... it's no wonder there are so many who are unable to understand how humans could be (at least partially) responsible.
@Vapur9...trouble comprehending what you read? aerosols are a form of pollution that has been put forward as a way to engineer a temporary fix for the warming planet, it appears Asia has unwittingly done this for us, good or bad? probably bad
This article reminds me of eggs. I cannot recall the number of flip-flops there have been but eggs seem to get vilified every few years then praised a few years later.
In this case, I remember how Sulfur caused acid rain, and acid rain caused the decrease in foliage, which increases global warming because plants consume CO2.
So...Sulfur good, no Sulfur bad, no Sulfur good!
Lets just stick with climate change = bad, and bean sprouts = good. Its far less confusing.
I'm not sure whether to laugh derisively or calmly point out the the obvious. I'll go with calm.
This paper demonstrates once again that our understanding of global warming and cooling and its causes is still remarkably immature. We think we know all kinds of factors that may affect temperatures, but by how much is the big question. That's where those with agendas jump in and claim absolutely and for certain that humans are causing it, when the science says no such thing.
Whether or not this study's conclusions are correct remains to be seen--it is only one paper, after all...and awfully funny at that. Funny in that humans are always to blame for both warming and cooling, but natural processes are not. But it does illustrate nicely that there is still a lot we don't know about cause and effect.
Now we have the Chinese to thank for avoiding the global meltdown? I hear other sources saying 2010 and 2011 are hottest years on record and here we have a source saying it's cooling off.
what a joke is scientists these days and basically I'm not going to listen to this crap any more they don't have a clue to what is really happening it's all a bunch of lies.
I agree, BUNCH OF LIES
You're right... it's all too complicated... God did it!
Phew... now I can go back to cramming hot wings into my face and washing them down with cooler ranch doritos while watching the game on my 60" tv...
This source doesn't say it's cooling off, it says that it is warming less quickly than it would have if there had not been all this excess sulphur in the atmosphere and now that China is removing sulphur from emitions, that buffer is about to disappear.
In my environmental science class last semester we were talking about this EXACT thing. We came up with the answer that we're all screwed. All the impurities in the coal hides the true effect of all the CO2 pumped out. As China works to add sulphur scrubbers to their coal-fire plants (iIrc they're half done) they're removing the shade they've been adding and revealing 10 years of past CO2 from our new superpower.
See: Boiling Frog metaphor.
The year is 2020 headline reads, "Decline in Global Tempratures Blamed on Coal"
Or maybe that will be the day the rest of the scientific community realizes humans play a much smaller role in a complicated global climate!
I'll go with calm as well...
-We, all ~6.75 billion of us, live on land.
-70% of the Earth is covered by water.
-With a relatively few number of fishing vessels, we have managed to fish the oceans to the point where we had to put regulations on the amount of fish that we are allowed to pull out. Additionally, we have been able to drive many ocean dwelling species to the brink of extinction.
-We do not live in water... this is not our natural environment and we do not spend much time in it.
-Our climate is but one part of our environment... we seem to be able to wreck that at will.
Tell me again why anyone thinks that we could not/are not negatively affecting the environment, to the point of accelerating global climate change?
Yes, climate change happens naturally... but just as a car will roll down a hill if it's in neutral... it'll go a lot faster if you pop it in gear and step on the gas.
Have you guys hear of Nathan Myhrvold and his proposal to channel all those sulfur waste from coal plant to the upper atmosphere?
Basically the theory goes, CO2 is good for plants. High CO2 level decrease water requirements for plant growth. So Mr. Myrhvold said, let the CO2 loose on the lower atmosphere, all we need is send the sulfur to the upper atmosphere to block the sunlight.
When will we ever learn. For Fabien Socialist you have solution or outcome you desire. You dream come up or invent a problem and have the usefull idots beg for the solution or the result wanted. The global warming "CRISES" is a means to an end....CONTROL.. The proof of the "CRISES" comes from a group so Fabien Socialist "Scientist" in Europe that has been caught fabricating data and changing historical data for it to say what they think it should say and they are backed up by the NASA Scientist that was discovered receiving 1.2 million dollars for his support. This is a undisputable FACT and these are the people we are trusting with changing the WHOLE WORLDS actions.
The bottom line is this " the earth cools and warms up" period...no matter what we do or do not do....or that is what history shows.. They cry about the ice melting and call this a crises. If that is so what was the condition of the earth when the south pole was covered with "GREEN". In the 1970's the "Scientist" cried about global cooling and how it could cause a polar shift. The whole global warming thing killed that. Now we have the 1998 to 2008 problem. Lets explain it this way and the useful idiots will follow.
Theory= Global Warming Crises
Theory= Big Bang
Theory= Progressives are smarter than the rest of us
FACT= The world is full of useful idiots...Their words not mine..
Theory = Gravity
And yet every time I drop something, the same thing happens. Just because something is labeled as theory, doesn't mean that there is not overwhelming evidence to support it. The evidence is there. It is complex and we by no means have a full understanding of it... but mankind is negatively affecting the environment in which we live, and that is accelerating climate change.
And seriously 'enough2010', do you really want to go after the theory of evolution? The world isn't flat.
Gravity is a physical phenomenon, and there are some theories to explain how/why it exists; gravity itself is not a theory (gravitational theory on the other hand..). As enough2010 says, the "global warming crisis" fits well into the theory camp (note enough didn't say "global warming", or "climate change", referring to the physical phenomenon). Evolutionary theory, as you even call it is clearly, well, a theory.
You may not like what he is implying, but I can't find an error in his declaring a theory a theory.
I will say this, the most common argument I have heard for the global warming crisis is we've done some modelling, and included everything we think might affect the climate, and there is nothing we know of in nature that causes the climate to act the way we see it acting, so it must be our influence causing it (in more or less words). There was also overwhelming evidence for the earth being flat "back in the day", simply because no one had tried to travel to the edge of the earth and returned. I will always be cautious of someone arguing from the stance of ignorance.
Well stated. As everyone slammed Rumsfeld in his discussion of the uncertainties in this world, there are facts "we don't know we don't know." And that's not so terrible, except when you've got folks willing to jump up onto the soap box and scream that they know exactly what needs to be done to fix the situation, and we should all put them in charge. NOBODY knows, period. Lots of theories, but the facts are open to interpretation and argument, even between experts on the subject, which probably none of us in this discussion are (experts). It seems like common sense to do as little damage to our planet as we reasonably can, but one person's "reasonable" is another person's fanaticism. Illustration: I'm not planning to stop eating beef because raising cattle produces methane. But, I drive a clean-running, fuel-efficient, smaller-size car because it just makes sense not to foul my nest unnecessarily. Balance, guys.