Ambitious legislation to clean Earth’s atmosphere of aerosol pollution may be paradoxically at odds with humanity’s efforts to control global warming. Since most aerosol particles reflect sunlight, they can actually have a cooling effect on Earth’s land masses. Policy makers and environmentalists will appreciate this detailed article by climatologist Bjørn Hallvard Samset, which clarifies the complex atmospheric interactions of aerosols and greenhouse gases, combined with natural climate trends.
In this summary, you will learn
- Why removing aerosol pollutants from Earth’s atmosphere may worsen climate change;
- Why some aerosols cool the atmosphere, while others contribute to surface warming; and
- Why global warming policies must take aerosols into consideration in meeting ambitious Paris Agreement goals.
About the Author
Bjørn Hallvard Samset is Research Director at the CICERO Center for International Climate Research, Oslo, Norway.