Brian Cox, the celebrity scientist, describes himself as a particle physicist. Will he believe the particle physicists from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research who have cast doubt on the theory that man's fossil fuel use is driving disastrous global warming.
MANKIND'S burning of fossil fuels may not be the primary cause of global warming, according to the shock results of a new study by scientists behind the Large Hadron Collider (LCH). (JON AUSTIN - link)
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Earth’s mean temperature is predicted to rise by between 1.5 – 4.5 °C for a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is expected by around 2050. One of the main reasons for this large uncertainty, which makes it difficult for society to know how best to act against climate change, is a poor understanding of aerosol particles in the atmosphere and their effects on clouds.
To date, all global climate models use relatively simple parameterisations for aerosol production that are not based on experimental data. Now, data collected by CLOUD have been used to build a model of aerosol production based solely on laboratory measurements. This more robust understanding of the nucleation process that gives rise to aerosols has allowed researchers to establish the main causes of new particle formation throughout the troposphere, and could narrow the variation in projected global temperature rise.
“This marks a big step forward in the reliability and realism of how models describe aerosols and clouds,” says CLOUD spokesperson Jasper Kirkby. “It’s addressing the largest source of uncertainty in current climate models and building it on a firm experimental foundation of the fundamental processes.”
Trees helped change climate long before human activity, according to a new study that casts more doubt on the human impact on global warming.
During an experiment where scientists were trying to create reflective clouds to combat global warming, researchers at CERN (Europe’s Organization for Nuclear Research) found that trees produce similar aerosols as burning fossil fuel. When directing ultra-violet light at said particles, the scientists found that vapor emanating from trees actually adds aerosols to the atmosphere just like the burning of fossil fuels.
Scientists at CERN who are running the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets) experiment also note that cloud cover, while it can add to global warming by trapping heat long term, can also lead to a cooling effect in the short term as less sunlight hits the surface of the Earth as a result.
“We found that nature produces particles without pollution. That is going to require a rethink of how human activities have increased aerosols in clouds.” While he and others on the team stop short of saying human activity is absolved completely, he does think our overall impact on global warming and greenhouse gasses needs to be revisited. Also claiming that computer model estimates of global temperature rise may have been overstated due to this new finding.
The cooling effect of pollution may have been exaggerated.
Fossil fuel burning spews sulfuric acid into the air, where it can form airborne particles that seed clouds and cool Earth’s climate. But that’s not the only way these airborne particles can form, three new studies suggest. Tree vapors can turn into cooling airborne particles, too.
The discovery means these particles were more abundant before the Industrial Revolution than previously thought. Climate scientists have therefore overestimated cooling caused by air pollution, says atmospheric chemist Urs Baltensperger, who coauthored the three studies.
“These particles don’t just form in the laboratory, but also by Mother Nature,” says Baltensperger, of the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland.