Global Dimming

I try to live with the idea that karma is a very real thing. So I put out what I want to get back. (Megan Fox)

The phenomenon of global dimming was first noticed by Gerald Stanhill, a British scientist working in Israel.

Measurements carried out by various independent organizations and universities from the US have confirmed Stanhill’s theory. These studies have discovered a dimming of the Earth by up to 8 percents. In order to make things a bit clearer, we are not talking about an actual darkening of the Earth (not yet at least) but merely about a decrease in the amount of solar energy that reaches our planet.

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I am saying “not yet” because this dimming varies significantly. Whereas in Australia and Africa it reaches around 2%, in the US it can be as high as 10% and in the former Soviet Union (including Russia) the dimming is substantial, of about 35%. In England, the London smog has caused a reduction of 20 to 25% in the amount of solar energy reaching the city.

After the first article published by Stanhill in 2001, he was met with skepticism and even negative reactions from fellow researchers. Only several years later did they acknowledge the existence of a real problem concerning global dimming, after the Australian National University of Canberra published a number of studies presenting the same issue as identified by Stanhill, but the Australians used different methods.

The main factor driving global dimming is, of course, human activity, and NOT the changes that occur naturally in the Sun’s luminosity, which over the recent years have been too small to play any role. Aerosols produced by human pollution are a predominant factor, together with greenhouse gases. They absorb solar rays and reflect them back into space. In addition, incomplete burning of diesel fuel releases even more carbon into the atmosphere, which further prevents the Sun’s light from reaching our planet’s surface. Soot is also an important element in the equation, according to some scientists, because, it can not only absorb solar radiation, but it can also transport it to other areas, such as the Himalaya Mountains, thus causing the glaciers situated there to melt.

Experiments undertaken in the Maldives at the beginning of the nineties, with the help of macroscopic pollutants, have caused a dimming of around 10% in the southern parts of India (by using only pollutants available at that time). The predictions made before the experiment estimated the dimming to be no higher than 1%.

Global dimming has affected the Earth’s hydrological cycle, lowering evaporation levels in some areas and directly reducing the amount of rainfall. Furthermore, this dimming masks the issue of global warming in certain regions, because it leads to a decrease in temperatures in the area whereas greenhouse gases cause an increase in temperatures.

images (1)It is worth mentioning that a 10 degree increase in temperatures at the North Pole because of global warming would release a massive amount of methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane is eight times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

The question would be: Are you putting out what you want to get back? Because we are running out of time!!

Written by Ionuţ Radu and translated by Mihail-Andreas Mitoşeriu.

Despre autor
Acest user este dedicat tuturor colaboratorilor Greenly! Studenti, masteranzi, doctoranzi sau pur si simplu oameni din intreaga tara, din intreaga lume care impart aceeasi pasiune, ecologia. Si isi doresc sa-si imparteasca ideile prin intermediul revistei Greenly. Le multumim din toata inima!
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