Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Whip Up Dinner, Melt A Glacier

Aug 3 2007 (TODAY)

BANGKOK - Huge haze clouds over the Indian Ocean contribute as much to
atmospheric warming as greenhouse gases and play a significant role in the
melting of the Himalayan glaciers, according to a study published

Scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan and his colleagues sent unmanned
measuring devices into the haze pollution - known as atmospheric brown
clouds - over the Indian Ocean last year.

Measuring aerosol concentrations, soot levels and solar radiation, the
team concluded that the pollution - mostly caused by the burning of wood
and plant matter for cooking in South Asia - enhanced heating of the
atmosphere by around 50 per cent, and contributed to about half of the
temperature increases blamed in recent decades for the glacial retreat.

Mr Ramanathan, a chief scientist at the University of California San
Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said his team's research
shows that the clouds are an additional factor in the melting of glaciers,
along with overall global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Until this study, published in the British journal Nature, scientists
believed the brown clouds mostly deflected sunlight and cooled the
atmosphere. But as the study now shows, the particles also absorb sunlight
and warm the atmosphere much more than previously believed. - Agencies

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