The Climate Modifying Effects of Aerosols

In Chapter 2, we saw that the initial neglect by scientists of the effects of atmospheric aerosol particles, specifically ice crystals in the stratosphere, led to a large underestimation of the amount of ozone that would be destroyed by chlorine. Similarly, neglect of aerosols led to misleading predictions about the extent of global warming to be expected. It is now realized that aerosols offset and thereby mask a significant fraction of the atmospheric temperature increase that would have otherwise occurred due to the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The types of particulate matter of most importance in this context are particles expelled by powerful volcanic eruptions into the upper atmosphere and those produced by industrial processes and expelled into the lower troposphere. In order to understand how aerosols can affect global warming, it is necessary to understand how they interact with light.

Continue reading here: The Interaction of Light with Particles

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