Feeds

Soot warming 'maybe bigger than greenhouse gases' - NASA

Forget Copenhagen CO2 cuts, tune your diesel properly

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Researchers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, also the home of famous carbopocalypse doom-prophet James Hansen, have repeated earlier assertions that atmospheric soot may be as important as greenhouse gases in driving global warming.

This could be good news for humanity, as atmospheric soot levels would be much easier to reduce. Filtering soot out of exhausts from diesel engines and coal burners is simple compared to removing and sequestering CO2, and as an added benefit the effects would be rapid: soot doesn't persist in the atmosphere for long periods the way greenhouse gases do, as it is washed out by rain or snow. However, many environmental campaigners would resist the idea of soot taking centre stage, fearing that this could lead to a reduced emphasis on greenhouse-gas emissions reductions.

Himalayan glaciers feed many of the great rivers of southern Asia. Credit: NASA

Ice running off the gutters of the 'roof of the world'.

Earlier investigations including the effect of soot had focused on the Arctic, where Goddard scientists have previously suggested that "the impact of aerosols is just as strong as that of the greenhouse gases". Aerosols include soot, which tends to heat the atmosphere, plus sulphates and others which cool it. Unfortunately sulphates also cause acid rain, and clean-air regs in the US and Europe have seen them massively reduced - and the Arctic warm up.

Now, Goddard researchers have carried out new investigations into the effects of sooty aerosols on the glaciers of the Himalayas - sometimes known as the planet's "Third Pole". Glacial melting in the Himalayas has received a lot of play in the greenly-inclined media lately against the background of the COP15 international climate talks underway in Copenhagen; it is widely felt that the mountain ice is disappearing much faster even than CO2-alarmist climate models predict, and that this is a reason to suggest that the Copenhagen talks - focused entirely on greenhouse-gas emissions - may be the last chance for humanity to save itself from a disastrous climate apocalypse.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.