Jumat, 25 Juni 2010

About Global Dimming

Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's surface that was observed for several decades after the start of systematic measurements in the 1950s. The effect varies by location, but worldwide it has been estimated to be of the order of a 4% reduction over the three decades from 1960�1990. However, after discounting an anomaly caused by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, a very slight reversal in the overall trend has been observed.
It is thought to have been caused by an increase in particulates such as sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere due to human action. The switch from a "global dimming" trend to a "brightening" trend in 1990 happened just as global aerosol levels started to decline.

Global dimming has interfered with the hydrological cycle by reducing evaporation and may have reduced rainfall in some areas. Global dimming also creates a cooling effect that may have partially masked the effect of greenhouse gases on global warming.

Deliberate manipulation of this dimming effect is now being considered as a geoengineering technique to reduce the impact of global warming.

It is thought that global dimming is probably due to the increased presence of aerosol particles in the atmosphere caused by human action. Aerosols and other particulates absorb solar energy and reflect sunlight back into space. The pollutants can also become nuclei for cloud droplets. Water droplets in clouds coalesce around the particles. Increased pollution causes more particulates and thereby creates clouds consisting of a greater number of smaller droplets (that is, the same amount of water is spread over more droplets). The smaller droplets make clouds more reflective, so that more incoming sunlight is reflected back into space and less reaches the Earth's surface. In models, these smaller droplets also decrease rainfall.[4]

Clouds intercept both heat from the sun and heat radiated from the Earth. Their effects are complex and vary in time, location, and altitude. Usually during the daytime the interception of sunlight predominates, giving a cooling effect; however, at night the re-radiation of heat to the Earth slows the Earth's heat loss.

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