Bob's Links and Rants

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Global Warming vs. Global Dimming

Mike sent me this link to the transcript of a recent BBC science program. Scientists discuss the effects that particulate pollution may be having on clouds and the reflectivity of the earth--in effect, reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface. After exploring effects on Ethiopia (possible cause of the widespread famines of the 1970's and '80's) and elsewhere, they conclude that this pollution IS reducing the amount of light and heat reaching the planet. They suggest that it has had a countering effect on global warming, and that the recent heat waves in Europe may be due to the effective anti-pollution measures that have been taken there. Without this "global dimming," they suggest, the effects of global warming would be much more obvious. However, they warn against fighting global warming with global dimming because the particulate pollution is very bad for health, and also affects global weather patterns in unpredictable and frequently disastrous ways.

I haven't seen this mentioned before, even though some of the research mentioned goes back decades. When I get a chance, I'll google around and try to find the web sites of both the global dimming prophets of doom and the corresponding naysayers (and you KNOW that both are out there!). For starters, you can read the transcript and judge for yourself.