Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos

TitleSoot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsHansen, J.
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume101
Issue2
Pagination423 - 428
Date Published01/2004
ISSN1091-6490
DOI10.1073/pnas.2237157100
Short TitleProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Citation Key160
Full Text

Abstract: plausible estimates for the effect of soot on snow and ice albedos (1.5% in the Arctic and 3% in Northern Hemisphere land areas) yield a climate forcing of +0.3 W/m2 in the Northern Hemisphere. The “efficacy” of this forcing is ∼2, i.e., for a given forcing it is twice as effective as CO2 in altering global surface air temperature. This indirect soot forcing may have contributed to global warming of the past century, including the trend toward early springs in the Northern Hemisphere, thinning Arctic sea ice, and melting land ice and permafrost. If, as we suggest, melting ice and sea level rise define the level of dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, then reducing soot emissions, thus restoring snow albedos to pristine high values, would have the double benefit of reducing global warming and raising the global temperature level at which dangerous anthropogenic interference occurs. However, soot contributions to climate change do not alter the conclusion that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been the main cause of recent global warming and will be the predominant climate forcing in the future.

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