Global Dimming

I caught the last half of a very intriguing NOVA on PBS last week.  Apparently, global warming would actually be a lot worse but for the fact that all the particulate matter pollution in the atmosphere is actually serving to dim the amount of solar energy we receive (global dimming) thereby cooling the earth and counteracting global warming to some degree.  The bad news?  We've been much better at eliminating particulate matter (which causes numerous deaths and health problems from its respiratory effects) than we are at reducing Carbon Dioxide.  In other words, we may very well have underestimated the impact of global warming due to previously unaccounted for global dimming and as particulate matter is increasingly eliminated, global warming will only become worse.  Bummer. 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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