SOOT AND GLOBAL WARMING
Soot (black carbon) is the black part of the smoke,
which forms particles in the air. Soot settles in a short time but produces 30% of global
Soot from smoke is something that an be easiliy reduced and
immediately contribute to reducing global warming and damage to marine and land ecosystems
Because of its short lifetime in the atmosphere the effects of
soot are strongest through regional climate warming and
changed rainfall patterns. The main places for soot emissions
areSouth and East Asia, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Central America,
and parts of Africa.
One of thelargest sources
of soot is theburning of biomass, including
open field burning of agricultural waste
andcut forest and bush.
Soot articles in the air absorb
sunlight and directly heat the surrounding air. Thesoot falling
on snow or ice makes it absorb more heat.Soot deposits increase the melting rate
ofglaciers and the arctic ice. Reducing soot will slowwarming over the
next 40 years, perhaps by 0.1-0.2°C globally.
Soot produces 15% of climate warming.Reductions in soothave an
immediateeffect of reducingglobal warming.Immediate reductions mainly in soot and carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions will be necessary to keep global temperatures from soon rising more than
3°C above pre-industrial levels.
In the industrialized northern hemisphere, residential wood stoves
are the primary source of soot. Emissions from North America
and Europe are the major controllable sources of sootto the
Arctic, contributing significantly to northern warming and loss of ice.
The major sources of soot arenot the biggest sources of CO2 (coal and fossil fuel burning). Therefore, both
problems need tobe addressed independently and
Diesel trucks emit a lot of soot if
their filters are inadequate, and motor vehicles and electricity generation are major producers of
both soot and CO2. In the tropics there is no need for energy use to control living temperatures in
well designed buildings. However, there is an increasing use of air conditioners in developing
Soothas serious and well
documented health effects; worldwide reductions in soot emissions would yearly prevent an estimated
2.4 million premature deaths and untold suffering.
Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon
and Tropospheric Ozone: Summary for Decision Makers. United Nations Environment Programme and World
Meteorological Organization (2011) pp. 1-36. http://www.unep.org/dewa/Portals/67/pdf/Black_Carbon.pdf
Lacis et al. Atmospheric CO2:
Principal Control Knob Governing Earth's Temperature. Science (2010) vol. 330 (6002) pp.
Ramanathan and Carmichael. Global and
regional climate changes due to black carbon. Nature Geoscience (2008) vol. 1 (4) pp.