Sunday, May 11, 2008

Too Much Clean Air Bad For 'The World's Lungs'

Climate science, particularly the science backing the theory of man-made climate change, is fairly new and extremely complicated. As this story makes clear, what you think would be good for a region like the Amazon, may actually turn out to be bad news :
...the Amazon could be wiped out within half a century as a result of too much clean air...

The vast rainforest, so crucial to the Earth's climate, is coming under threat from attempts to curb the pollution that causes acid rain, warn UK and Brazilian climate scientists.

The drying of the Amazon is caused by a combination of increasing greenhouse gases and efforts to remove sulphate aerosol particles arising from the burning of coal in power stations.

Emissions of the particles in the 1970s and 1980s partially reduced global warming by reflecting sunlight and making clouds brighter. This pall of pollution has dominated in the northern hemisphere and has acted to limit warming in the tropical north Atlantic, keeping the Amazon wetter than it would otherwise be.

they found that the trend to cut sulphur emissions in North America and Europe to curb acid rain, which has harmful effects on plants, aquatic life and buildings, will see tropical rain-bands move northwards as the north Atlantic warms, resulting in a sharp increase in the risk of Amazonian drought, like that experienced in 2005.

"These findings are another reminder of the complex nature of environmental change," says Prof Cox.

Is this story actually claiming that significant pollution in the 1970s and 1980s reduced the effects of global warming by reflecting back sunlight that would have otherwise reached this planet's surface? And that the effect of this increased rainfall in the Amazon, making it healthier and lusher than it otherwise would have been?


No comments: