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Thread: A question on climate change forcing & aerosols, would appreciate your assistance.

  1. #1 A question on climate change forcing & aerosols, would appreciate your assistance. 
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    Ok, so here is what I understand as a none scientific person with a residential appreciation for and understanding of science. i.e. I am not an academic.

    Solar radiation is trapped by green house gasses, the amount trapped variate's with the amount of those gasses, those gasses usually naturally variate over the very long term due to orbital variance and solar output variance.

    Albedo reflects sunlight stopping a portion of that solar irradiance being trapped.

    Aerosols in the atmosphere primarily from human production also act as a reflector of solar irradiance.







    So my question is this. Given humanity dumps the equivalent of 292,000 volcanoes worth of Co2 into the atmosphere every 12 months, 39 billion tons rising at half a billion tons a year on average due to an economic system called capitalism which doubles in size over a 35yr period, requiring a doubling of energy and many materials needed to feed it, and given most nations are trying to clean up their act in the blind hope of allowing economics to outrun physics for a little while longer, thus resulting in a pronounced fall of the short lived aerosols over the next couple of decades as we see beginning:


    ^ "Emissions of major air pollutants in three target regions: (a) EUS, (b) WEU, and (c) ECC. All emissions are normalized to 2001 in WEU and ECC regions, but to 2002 in the EUS region"



    What happens to their negative forcing with regards to our existing Co2 pile.

    Will this not make its effects of what we have already done, far more pronounced than we are expecting? if not, why not? how is it negated?
    If it is not negated, do we have any models for what a 25% drop in Aerosoles will do to the efficacy of existing Co2? never mind the rest that's coming.

    Thanks for your time.


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    Quite familiar with this topic but wish you would have left out the political gibes because it makes it very difficult to sort through your questions.

    But I'll clear up a few things:

    Solar radiation is trapped by green house gasses, (and the follow-on statements)
    No. IR radiation is "trapped" by greenhouse gasses.

    What happens to their negative forcing with regards to our existing Co2 pile.
    Can you rephrase this...no idea what you're trying to ask.


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    Quite familiar with this topic but wish you would have left out the political gibes because it makes it very difficult to sort through your questions.

    But I'll clear up a few things:

    Solar radiation is trapped by green house gasses, (and the follow-on statements)
    No. IR radiation is "trapped" by greenhouse gasses.

    What happens to their negative forcing with regards to our existing Co2 pile.
    Can you rephrase this...no idea what you're trying to ask.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkStar1982 View Post
    Solar radiation is trapped by green house gasses, the amount trapped variate's with the amount of those gasses, those gasses usually naturally variate over the very long term due to orbital variance and solar output variance.
    Albedo reflects sunlight stopping a portion of that solar irradiance being trapped.
    Solar radiation hits the atmosphere. Some is reflected, some is absorbed, some is transmitted.

    The transmitted radiation hits the surface. Some is reflected, some is absorbed. The amount of reflection vs absorption is referred to as "albedo." An albedo of 1 is perfectly reflective.

    The absorbed light heats up the surface. The surface then emits infrared radiation. Some of it escapes; some of it is absorbed by the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect causes much of the IR radiation to be absorbed (and re-radiated in both directions) thus warming the planet.
    Aerosols in the atmosphere primarily from human production also act as a reflector of solar irradiance.
    And absorber. But energy absorbed so high up re-radiates primarily to space; the net result is absorption for most aerosols.
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    Political jibes? I was just stating the process by which we have come to where we are. My exasperation is formed by the work of professor Kevin Anderson and publications on Scripps among others, many scientists here in the UK and indeed across Europe are very clear that we cannot solve this problem under an infinite growth paradigm, mathematics not politics. No offense was intended.

    Rephrased:
    If our current Co2 has a forcing effect, an efficacy if you will, of 1.5, aerosols have a negating effect of -1.1 what is the impact if any on the efficacy of existing Co2 in the atmosphere, the carbon budget we have already emitted, if you remove aerosols.

    i.e. If they decrease doesn't more solar energy get to the surface? thus more heat getting trapped by existing gasses?

    Thanks again for your time.
    Last edited by DarkStar1982; February 26th, 2018 at 06:32 PM.
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    billvon

    Thank you for that, as I say I am just trying to figure out what pieces have what effect and in what way, I didn't know they absorb and emit, I thought it bounced.
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    Most aerosols are relatively short-lived, days to a year or two depending on where in the atmosphere, precipitation and chemical reactions. Added CO2 is complex, most lasting decades but it's highly nonlinear and at least a small portion will last thousands of years.

    Industry and burning of fossil fuels are also rather complex. Sulfates, which used to be released in Western nations were mostly reflective and measurable decreased solar radiation received at the surface. Most Western nations cleaned up sulfur emissions during the 70s but we've seen a pattern of developing nations going through the same cycle of high CO2/high aerosols than later cleaning up the aerosols to mitigate local pollution impacts.
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  9. #8  
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    DarkStar - this study "Climate Impacts From a Removal of Anthropogenic Aerosol Emissions" looks at some of what you are asking. It gives an estimate of between 0.5 to 1.1 C being 'masked' by aerosols and what might happen were that removed. Which looks to me like we are, with 1 C of global temperature rise, plus this, already past a 1.5 C target and possibly a 2 C one - although I'm not sure it's actually as simple as adding these numbers .

    It's worth noting that aerosols are short lived compared to CO2 in the atmosphere; the ongoing accumulation of CO2 from fossil fuel burning will outlive the aerosol masking effects from those same sources without constant new additions; ultimately the masking effect won't keep up with the extra warming.
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