FEB 17, 2020 5:31 PM PST

Something good about aerosols?

New research published in Nature Climate Change analyzes the economic impacts of anthropogenic aerosol emissions. Aerosols emitted by humans interact with the clouds in the atmosphere and reflect sunlight, resulting in a temporary cooling effect. Researchers from Carnegie wanted to figure out the effect that such cooling has on different regions of the world, from an economic perspective.

"Estimates indicate that aerosol pollution emitted by humans is offsetting about 0.7 degrees Celsius, or about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit, of the warming due to greenhouse gas emissions," said lead author Yixuan Zheng. "This translates to a 40-year delay in the effects of climate change. Without cooling caused by aerosol emissions, we would have achieved 2010-level global mean temperatures in 1970."

The authors of the paper include an important disclaimer in their research, cautioning that although there are indeed positive effects of aerosols, they are by no means recommending the emission of them due to the threats they pose to human health.

"We need to understand how human activities affect our planet so we can make informed decisions that can protect the environment while giving everyone a high quality of life," researcher Ken Caldeira concluded. "Aerosol pollution might appear to have some upsides, but at the end of the day their profound harm far outweighs their meager benefits."

In conducting their investigations, the researchers found that the cooling effect of aerosols benefitted the economies of tropical countries and harmed the economies of high latitude countries. These findings are opposite to the effects of global warming, which are generally benefitting higher latitudes’ economies and harming tropical climates’ economies.

"Although aerosols have many negative impacts, our simulations demonstrated that aerosol-induced cooling, in particular, could actually diminish global economic inequality," said researcher Geeta Persad. Research Steven Davis added, "However, when you look at the whole world at once, rather than region by region, the net economic effect of this cooling is likely to be small due to these effects between latitudes.”

Sources: Nature Climate Change, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUL 27, 2021
Health & Medicine
Toxic pollution due to climate change is more likely in low income areas
JUL 27, 2021
Toxic pollution due to climate change is more likely in low income areas
Climate change causes toxic air and water pollution, especially in low income countries
AUG 11, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Solve Jupiters 'Energy Crisis'
AUG 11, 2021
Researchers Solve Jupiters 'Energy Crisis'
Astronomers have solved Jupiter's 'Energy Crisis', a long-standing issue that has puzzled scientists for dec ...
AUG 15, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Stunning Connection Between Bear DNA & Human Language Groups Is Revealed
AUG 15, 2021
Stunning Connection Between Bear DNA & Human Language Groups Is Revealed
Incredible findings from the wilds of coastal British Columbia have shown how closely linked animals, humans, and the en ...
AUG 15, 2021
Plants & Animals
The Killer Instinct of a Dainty Flower is Finally Exposed
AUG 15, 2021
The Killer Instinct of a Dainty Flower is Finally Exposed
The exotic Venus flytrap is a famous carnivorous plant that's easy to identify. But it seems that another carnivorous pl ...
AUG 20, 2021
Earth & The Environment
World Mosquito Day - Disease Deliverers Denigrated
AUG 20, 2021
World Mosquito Day - Disease Deliverers Denigrated
August 20th is World Mosquito Day, but we’re not celebrating the mosquitoes themselves. Instead, we are celeb ...
SEP 21, 2021
Plants & Animals
Increasing Production of Aquatic "Blue" Foods Promotes Sustainable Access To Healthier Diets
SEP 21, 2021
Increasing Production of Aquatic "Blue" Foods Promotes Sustainable Access To Healthier Diets
What is a “blue” food? Hint: it doesn’t mean foods that are blue in color.  “Blue” fo ...
Loading Comments...