How reflective aerosols are cooling the planet (Yale e360). This post features an interview with the author of a recent paper that dealt with the cooling effect of aerosols that are produced mainly via the pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels. They cool by blocking the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. The significance is described very well in this post, including the fact that if we stop burning fossil fuels the heating effect of around 0.7C would appear almost immediately since such aerosols, unlike CO2, quickly drop out of the atmosphere. There is a Q&A about geoengineering as a possible but problematic solution to the dilemma.
–Here is a link to the full study that was the reason for the interview. The study was greatly complicated by regional differences, much like the one on deforestation effects, that was reviewed in yesterday’s letter. In the Discussion section questions are raised that relate to creating a proper definition of climate sensitivity, which keeps getting shoved around, mostly up..
What is the proper way to evaluate carbon emissions from cities? It is now being argued that emissions associated with the production and transportation of things that are produced elsewhere but consumed by city dwellers should be attributed to the cities themselves instead of the outsiders. This would greatly change the reported balances, with considerable logic. The same type of analysis is already commonly applied to nations so why not cities as well? It’s something to think about when cities claim they are going 100% renewable. (The same principle can also be applied to every individual consumer when making any purchase from anywhere.)
Europe is at risk for a worsening of wildfires. Last year’s outbreak was largely felt in countries bordering the Mediterranean. Now there are fears that the trend of aridity will move farther north, into the center of the continent. “Land surrounding the Alps and other European mountain systems, in which wildfires are currently much less common, show a fast pace of danger increase.”
An entirely new kind of battery has been developed in Australia. “The researchers’ experiments showed that their small proton battery, with an active inside surface area of only 5.5 square centimetres, was already able to store as much energy per unit mass as commercially-available lithium ion batteries. This was before the battery had been optimised.” The material requirements are inexpensive and environmentally sound. The main roadblocks to development have been overcome, making this a leading technology for future competitive success.
A full update on how the Trump administration has become overloaded with climate change deniers. The public needs to be told about this in more forceful ways so it can become an election issue.