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To what extend do aerosol particles in the atmosphere mask the effects of greenhouse gases?


Stevens,  Björn
Director’s Research Group AES, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Since the rise of industrialization more and more greenhouse gases are being emitted into the atmosphere and as a result the earth’s climate is warming. It is known that part of the temperature rise is balanced by aerosol particles in the atmosphere – partly also emitted by human activity. The extent of that balancing however is unknown. As BJORN B. STEVENS explains in this video, the researchers used a new approach to estimate how strong this effect actually is: they used a top down perspective and asked if the assumptions made in earlier studies are consistent with current observations. Their findings show that the cooling effect of aerosol particles is not as large as previously calculated. Most significantly, this means that we do not have to fear an increase of global warming due to cleaner air.