May 26, 2009

Just another surprise

If as this article from Mother Jones and the corresponding report states, 30% of the warming in the Arctic region is the result of soot rather than demonic CO2, where does that leave recent "unprecedented warming"? In addition the fact that soot is responsible for greater and accelerated ice melt, it makes one wonder how the scientific community can continue with a clear conscious to blame the Arctic sea ice melt on atmospheric CO2. So once again we have another example of the so called settled science being unsettled by new discoveries. The best and the brightest of the climate science community are regularly being surprised by what they don't know, it makes you wonder why they are surprised that fewer and fewer people trust what they say.

After all how often do we have tor read something like :"These fires weren't part of our standard predictions, they weren't in our models," before it dawns on them that the science community is not being all that scientific.

FROM-Mother Jones

Don't Burn the Crops

Want a quick recipe for reducing Arctic ice melt fast? Stop burning northern hemisphere farmlands and pasturelands.

New research finds that large-scale agricultural burning in Russia, Kazakhstan, China, the US, Canada, and the Ukraine is melting Arctic ice.

The big contributor: Spring burning, when farmers torch crop residues and brush to clear new land for crops and livestock. The black carbon soot produced by these fires flows north, warms the surrounding air, and absorbs solar energy when it falls on ice and snow.

How bad is the problem? Springtime burning may account for 30 percent of Arctic warming to date. The good news is there's an easy fix. Targeting these burns gets us a genuinely fast reduction in temperature over the Arctic. Plus we know how to control these pollutants right now. Just stop burning. Right now. Before the melting ice rewires the oceanic currents delivering us the climate we're used to.

The research is part of POLARCAT, an international effort to track the transport of pollutants into the Arctic from lower latitudes. Researchers were surprised to find 50 smoke plumes that analysis of satellite images revealed came from agricultural fires in Northern Kazakhstan and Southern Russia and from forest fires in Southern Siberia. The emissions from these fires far outweighed those from fossil fuels.

"These fires weren't part of our standard predictions, they weren't in our models," says Daniel Jacob, a professor of atmospheric chemistry and environmental engineering at Harvard.

Although global warming is largely the result of excess accumulation of carbon dioxide, the Arctic is highly sensitive to short-lived pollutants like black carbon. Forest fires, agricultural burning, primitive cookstoves, and diesel fuel are the primary sources of black carbon.


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