Global warming pause linked to sulfur in China

Jul 04, 2011 By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID , AP Science Writer

Scientists have come up with a possible explanation for why the rise in Earth's temperature paused for a bit during the 2000s, one of the hottest decades on record.

The answer seems counterintuitive. It's all that sulfur pollution in the air from China's massive coal-burning, according to a new study.

Sulfur particles in the air deflect the sun's rays and can temporarily cool things down a bit. That can happen even as coal-burning produces the that contributes to global warming.

"People normally just focus on the warming effect of CO2 (carbon dioxide), but during the Chinese economic expansion there was a huge increase in ," which have a cooling effect, explained Robert K. Kaufmann of Boston University. He's the lead author of the study published Monday in .

But sulfur's cooling effect is only temporary, while the carbon dioxide from coal burning stays in Earth's atmosphere a long time.

Chinese coal consumption doubled between 2003 and 2007, and that caused a 26 percent increase in global coal consumption, Kaufmann said.

Now, Chinese leaders have recognized the effects of that pollution on their environment and their citizens' health and are installing equipment to scrub out the sulfur particles, Kaufmann said.

Sulfur quickly drops out of the air if it is not replenished, while carbon dioxide remains for a long time, so its warming effects are beginning to be visible again, he noted. The plateau in temperature growth disappeared in 2009 and 2010, when temperatures lurched upward.

Indeed, NASA and the , have listed 2010 as tied for the warmest year on record, while the Hadley Center of the British Meteorological Office lists it as second warmest, after 1998.

Sulfur's ability to cool things down has led some to suggest using it in a geoengineering feat to cool the planet. The idea is that injecting very high into the atmosphere might help ease global warming by increasing clouds and haze that would reflect sunlight. Some research has concluded that's a bad idea.

Using enough sulfur to reduce warming would wipe out the protective Arctic ozone layer and delay recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole by as much as 70 years, according to an analysis by Simone Tilmes of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. This is the ozone layer that is high above Earth and protects against harmful UV rays, not the ground level ozone that is a harmful pollutant.

"While climate change is a major threat, more research is required before society attempts global geoengineering solutions," said Tilmes.

Overall, global temperatures have been increasing for more than a century since the industrial revolution began adding gases like carbon dioxide to the air. But there have been similar plateaus, such as during the post-World War II era when industrial production boosted emissions in several parts of the world, Kaufmann explained.

Atmospheric scientists and environmentalists are concerned that continued rising temperatures could have serious impacts worldwide, ranging from drought in some areas, changes in storm patterns, spread of tropical diseases and rising sea levels.

Explore further: Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

More information: Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008" by Robert Kaufmann et al. http://www.pnas.org

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hush1
3.1 / 5 (15) Jul 04, 2011
"While climate change is a major threat, more research is required before society attempts global geoengineering solutions," - Analysis by Simone Tilmes of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
dogbert
1.8 / 5 (24) Jul 04, 2011
You can add B.S. to either side of the AGW scales and the GW side will always outweigh the other side.

B.S. is always B.S.
Callippo
1.7 / 5 (23) Jul 04, 2011
IMO the slowing of global warming is linked to suppression of solar activity due the temporal change of location of center of mass of solar system with dense cloud of neutrinos. We can observe the similar effects at another planets of solar system. The neutrinos manifest with another effects, like the increasing of geovolcanic activity (they're acellerating the decay of radioactive elements, which increases the heating of marine watter and earth mantle), they're causing changes of gravity constant, speed of light, dilatation of iridium prototypes etc.
John_balls
2.5 / 5 (21) Jul 04, 2011
IMO the slowing of global warming is linked to suppression of solar activity due the temporal change of location of center of mass of solar system with dense cloud of neutrinos. We can observe the similar effects at another planets of solar system. The neutrinos manifest with another effects, like the increasing of geovolcanic activity (they're acellerating the decay of radioactive elements, which increases the heating of marine watter and earth mantle), they're causing changes of gravity constant, speed of light, dilatation of iridium prototypes etc.


Your opinion sounds like a big pile of dung.
thermodynamics
3.2 / 5 (11) Jul 04, 2011
Callippo: Do you have a single publication or source of data (other than from Oliver) that can back up anything you have said? Your string of words looks like it came from a robot with limited science background. Please give us some references so we can see the basis for your astounding pronouncement? Have we measured this swarm of neutrinos (you know we have instruments for that)? How are the neutrinos affecting volcanoes? Did you take your medication today?
Callippo
1.7 / 5 (16) Jul 04, 2011
PNAS is one of the 3 leading flagship journals in the science, which should serve as certain warranter of the legitimacy of this study. But even the article name is tautological: you shouldn't correlate climate change with temperature change, because temperature itself is important aspect of climate - this is what the circular reasoning is called. And the rest of study continues in the same spirit - for example, I'm missing the sulfur dioxide concentration curve in it. The radiative forcing of sulfur emissions presented in the study should be the result of the model from underlying data - unfortunately no such data or model are given.

http://wattsupwit...2467.pdf

My above explanation allows correlation of volcanic emissions with global temperature, because they both share the same origin - but the correlation isn't causation here.
thermodynamics
3.2 / 5 (9) Jul 04, 2011
Callippo: Nice work retrieving the paper for the article, but where are the neutrinos? Please supply the references as I asked above to support your claims. You just supported the report above, not your claims.
Callippo
1.6 / 5 (14) Jul 04, 2011
Do you have a single publication or source of data
Of course, check for example the thirty links in discussion bellow this article http://physicswor...ws/45005

where are the neutrinos
All around us, I'd expect.

http://www.disclo...664.html
thermodynamics
3.8 / 5 (11) Jul 04, 2011
The nice thing about this article is that it has put forward theses that are experimentally measurable and falsifiable. This is not some empty claim that cannot be disproven. I consider it good work when someone makes predictions and claims that others can measure and test. The article is very good and now we wait for verification or falsification.
thermodynamics
2.6 / 5 (10) Jul 04, 2011
Callippo: Your first "reference" is a comment on an article, not an article at all. Do you not understand that the comments we make here are not good references? I can say anything here and there is no one to check it (well, usually there are plenty to check what I write). No one should ever use a comment as a reference. The fact that you did speaks volumes about your background.

Then to top it off, the second reference you use does not even address neutrinos. Instead it addresses "energetic neutral atoms (ENA)" If you do not know the difference between a neutrino and an ENA your predictions don't hold a lot of water. In fact, you must be a Troll because no one can be this confused.
_nigmatic10
2.5 / 5 (19) Jul 04, 2011
nevermind the solar minimum. That would make too much sense.
Callippo
1.3 / 5 (14) Jul 04, 2011
it has put forward theses that are experimentally measurable and falsifiable
Why not, but it haven't done it.

Sulfur particles in the air deflect the sun's rays and can temporarily cool things down a bit - it's just a hypothesis. In addition, they probably meant sulfate particles, which are believed to behave so. But was the sulfate particles concentration measured?

Actually the only source of antropogenic sulphur documented in the study is the Stern's "Global sulfur emissions from 1850 to 2000", where it's extrapolated from coal emissions. How it can be falsified?
Your first "reference" is a comment on an article, not an article at all.
Can you read? PhysOrg doesn't allow me to post thirty links, so I'm posting you the link to these links required by you and I wrote about it clearly.
thermodynamics
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2011
Callipo: Let's just take one of your statements: "they're acellerating the decay of radioactive elements" Here you are touting the neutrinos accelerating the decay of elements. That was an experiment that was carried out a few years ago and immediately debunked. It was probably noise in the system (being an annual effect). Please check out:

http://en.wikiped...ay_rates

In that article please download reference 9

"Evidence against correlations between nuclear decay rates and EarthSun distance"

which debunks the annual cycle of radiation decay rate. Once you take a look at that we can address the rest of your spectacular claims.

As for the links in the article comments, those are yours I take it. You seem to be Trolling for feedback on your neutrino storm hypothesis. Well, my feedback is that you need to go back to school.
thermodynamics
3 / 5 (6) Jul 04, 2011
Callipo: You have too much fiction posted to address it all. I will just address the single claim above that the present neutrino storm is causing changes in nuclear decay rates. If you need me to go through your extravagant claims for the impact of a neutrino storm, let me know. Because your claims are without merit. For instance, the influence on geology is amazingly thin. Just let me know what you think is true and I can show it is not with references.
Gilbert
3 / 5 (10) Jul 05, 2011
Callipo please look up research by Dr Benjamin Santer, or perhaps read the book ( Merchants of Doubt, by Oreskes and Conway ) you only need to read page 2...
freethinking
2 / 5 (25) Jul 05, 2011
WAIT!!!! I have been told many times by Al Gore Worshipers and AGW believers that the temp is still going up and only nuts don't believe temps even during the last 10 years have been going up. WHATS GOING ON?
MarkyMark
3.4 / 5 (10) Jul 05, 2011
WAIT!!!! I have been told many times by Al Gore Worshipers and AGW believers that the temp is still going up and only nuts don't believe temps even during the last 10 years have been going up. WHATS GOING ON?

Grow up!
Its called science.
StarGazer2011
1.6 / 5 (20) Jul 05, 2011
excuses excuses, sounds like catstrophism is going the way of miasma and epicycles... the faster the better.
As far as I am aware, there has never been a convincing rejection of the null hypothesis (i.e. its normal warming) in any real scientific sense, just post normal science guesstimation.
If you look at a chart of the last 6000 years temperature from the GISP icecore, the little bit of 20th century warming is nothing unusual.
hush1
3 / 5 (10) Jul 05, 2011
@Callippo&TD
http://wattsupwit...2467.pdf

A good link, a good read. I'm just reiterating TD.
We are all in agreement here.

Acknowledgments shows openness to suggestions:

"We thank reviewers who suggested the use of
confidence intervals to evaluate model accuracy and many of the topics used to test the degree to which the results generated by the statistical model are
robust."

No need to comment on the 'other stuff' between Calli&TD, except maybe to say it is still the exception, rather the rule that no learning curve can be found in Physorg commentary.
thermodynamics
3.5 / 5 (6) Jul 05, 2011
hush1: It is a good read. I had pulled it down from another site earlier. I think they did a very good job with the analyses and uncertainty analysis. I can't ask for much more from a team of researchers.
Callippo
1.6 / 5 (14) Jul 05, 2011
This study doesn't contain the time curve of atmospheric sulphur concentration (sulfate the less) - although all extrapolations and deductions are based on it. It's all just a speculation from this perspective.
Callippo
1.8 / 5 (16) Jul 05, 2011
The influence of sulphates to the global cooling itself is highly speculative, too. Sulfate aerosols are believed to reflect sunlight back into space. The gamma rays are linked to global warming, because they're believed to form aerosols too. Surprisingly, in such case these aerosols are believed to contribute to the global warming, instead.
Pkunk_
2.3 / 5 (15) Jul 05, 2011
WAIT!!!! I have been told many times by Al Gore Worshipers and AGW believers that the temp is still going up and only nuts don't believe temps even during the last 10 years have been going up. WHATS GOING ON?

Grow up!
Its called science.


Even scientists can get it wrong. It's just that good ones admit they got it wrong and bad ones cook up data and re-jig their models to explain why they got it so wrong.
Deesky
4.6 / 5 (11) Jul 05, 2011
Nothing wrong with re-jigging models, as long as the framework is unfalsified. Happens all the time when new data constrain the variables. Of course, some can take things too far, like Fred Hoyle with the steady state theory. But in those cases, the mainstream self-corrects and prunes out the fringe outliers.
ForFreeMinds
1.9 / 5 (23) Jul 05, 2011
Seems the AGW, now climate change, crowd have contradicted themselves. First, human pollution caused global warming, then caused climate change. Now human pollution is causing global cooling.

The only thing in common here, is that scientists (and often political hacks posing as scientists) are saying humans are causing catastrophe via changes to the weather, apparently to ensure their government grant gravy train. The only thing I'm sure of is that I'm paying too much in taxes to support this kind of work.
Truthforall
2 / 5 (16) Jul 05, 2011
Had it been the sceptics who break out this story, the AGW would have a field day tearing it apart and exposing its lact of robust proof. Too many perhaps and likely, not enough convincing research. Going back to prep school level science project, are we?
freethinking
1.6 / 5 (20) Jul 05, 2011
Al Gore Believes we are causing AGW. I also know he believes he isn't the cause of AGW, so he can have 4 kids,live and own many mansions, fly in private jets or first class, eat endangered animals, drive and own many many big SUV's. The reason he can do these things is that he is special and his lifestyle isnt the problem, ours is.

Progressives leaders hypocrites every one!
EWH
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 05, 2011
I'm surprised no one has debunked the ozone hole nonsense in the article. There has never been a time when there was ozone detected in the antarctic winter at the concentrations normal at other places and times. (The so-called ozone hole appears only in the antarctic winter.)

Ozone is created by sunlight, when there is sun there is stratospheric ozone, when there isn't, there isn't. No protection from UV is needed when it is dark, so there is no problem. The ozone layer continuously recreates itself, and the hypothesis that CFCs catalyze ozone depletion was never shown. What was shown is that the main producers of CFCs that had gone off-patent could disrupt their competition by getting government to mandate a switch to new, patented compounds and processes and new equipment that would spur demand for the new, less effective refrigerants.

Surface UV was never shown to have increased during the ozone hole scare.

A much better reason sulfur is bad is because it leads to acid rain.
freethinking
1 / 5 (11) Jul 05, 2011
EWH what is your source for your claim about no Ozone when there is no sunlight? Never heard that before. Thanks
Gilbert
1 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2011
EWH I lived in Melbourne, Australia for a time. There is an ozone hole and there has been a decline in ozone levels, which is recovering.

http://www.bom.go...aq.shtml

"Observations suggest that, in southern mid-latitudes (which includes Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart) the amount of depletion caused by ODSs during this time was about 5%. "

"..after the ozone hole has broken up parcels of ozone depleted air mixed with mid latitude air move northwards. These parcels can move over the southern part of Australia and cause a reduction in total ozone values."

http://www.cancer...ures.htm

"the rate of melanoma incidence in women has risen by an average of 0.7% a year between 1993 and 2003 a total increase of 6.8% over this decade. For men, the rate has risen by 1.7% a year, a total of 18.7% over the same period."
EWH
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 06, 2011
EWH what is your source for your claim about no Ozone when there is no sunlight? Never heard that before. Thanks


Ozone Chicken Littles Are At It Again by Robert W. Pease (professor emeritus of physical climatology at the University of California, Riverside) From The Wall Street Journal, 23 March 1989, p. A24:3
The Rowland theory ignores the equilibrium nature of ozone in the layer. The ozone molecules are constantly being created and destroyed both quite naturally by the very short wavelengths of ultraviolet light from the sun. The amount of ozone in the layer depends upon an equilibrium between the two processes. This equilibrium varies markedly both over the globe and throughout the year.

At very high altitudes a disrupted equilibrium is restored in a matter of minutes; at lower levels in the stratosphere, in a matter of weeks or months.
EWH
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 06, 2011
Gilbert:
There could easily be other explanations for the rise in melanomas, including changing standards of diagnosis for low-grade cancers, other carcinogens(perhaps in sunscreens?), differing outdoor activities, reliance on ineffective sunscreens, rise of use of tanning beds, increase in sunburns due to lack of gradually built-up melanin, and delayed effects of childhood sunburns from decades earlier.

To demonstrate increased UV, why not measure the UV directly?
NASA Ozone and Air Quality - go to Erythemal UV and check the same day of the year on different years. I see some variation, but no overall long-term changes.

"...there has been a decline in ozone levels, which is recovering."
A good set of images from multiple satellites' data of the Sept. antarctic ozone hole from 1995-2007 shows no trend. The hole is the same as in 1995.
EWH
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 06, 2011
Another good critique of the CFC-ozone depletion hypothesis is this quote from the book "Kicking the Sacred Cow" by James P. Hogan. ( See: wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/08/new-rate-of-stratospheric-photolysis-questions-ozone-hole/#comment-569169 - linking does not seem to work)

Also at the top of that page is a quote from James Lovelock, the environmentalist who originated the Gaia hypothesis and invented the sensors that allowed detecting atmospheric pollutants at part-per-billion levels: "We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done."
CavemanDev
4.3 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2011

A good set of images from multiple satellites' data of the Sept. antarctic ozone hole from 1995-2007 shows no trend. The hole is the same as in 1995.


CFC's and other Ozone Depleting Substances are persistent; it will be a long time before they go away.
http://www.agu.or...32.shtml

Also check Wikipedia. It's a neat resource.

Ozone Chicken Littles Are At It Again ... From The Wall Street Journal

That title makes it look like an editorial. I'm gonna go ahead and say it's probably not a scientific article.
Gilbert
3.5 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2011
well then i challenge you to stand outside in Australia for 30 minutes on a cloudless day...

the rate of malignant cancers is of course reliant on many variables, i agree, notably smoking and genetic susceptibility, however the number of smokers in Australia is rapidly decreasing and dark-skinned people are forming a larger percentage population to pale-skinned people.

skin cancer's primary cause is exposure to UVB rads, which with sufficient ozone filters out, increased cancer rates logically should correspond to increased uvb.

In any case I would find NASA, the CSIRO, the Cancer council, the beureau of meteorology, wikipedia, the environmental protection agency, muchmuchmuchmuchmuchmuch more credible than the wall street journal, or a HYPOTHESIS quoted from a speculative book.
freethinking
1.3 / 5 (12) Jul 08, 2011
Thanks EWH, I will need to research that a bit more.

As for skin cancers proving Ozone is lower, I think that is not a good argument. Many doctors are now saying it is the increase use of sunscreen that maybe the cause of skin cancers. Their theory is that people now stay out longer and receive less vitamin D. This makes sense to me as people are made to be outdoors. I'm not concerned about myself or my kids being exposed to the sun without sunscreen. But we avoid getting sunburned.

Gilbert, let me get tanned enough, then I would take up your challenge. BTW, and FYI you can get burned on cloudy days :)

Also I'm not debating whether Ozone is depleted, I just wanted to know the source that EWH relys on so I can study them myself...My motto, prove all things, hold fast to that which is true
Thex1138
1 / 5 (2) Jul 10, 2011
Gilbert:
There could easily be other explanations for the rise in melanomas, including changing standards of diagnosis for low-grade cancers, other carcinogens(perhaps in sunscreens?), differing outdoor activities, reliance on ineffective sunscreens, rise of use of tanning beds, increase in sunburns due to lack of gradually built-up melanin, and delayed effects of childhood sunburns from decades earlier.
[\q]
how about skin pigment... How many African or Aboriginal Australians does anyone hear about getting skin cancer? Sort of proves the point really...
Sancho
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 10, 2011
"Sulfur quickly drops out of the air if it is not replenished, while carbon dioxide remains for a long time"

Could somebody quantify what "a long time" means; it implies that we don't know, so we say "a long time"? (I have seen figures ranging from 18 months on up to decades for the persistence of CO2.) This would seem to be a critical point.

FWIW, the planet is cooling, not warming; a new solar minimum is shaping up that will result in cooling for perhaps the next 30-50 years. (Siting Stevenson screens, which measure temperature, at airports and other convenient but warm locations is responsible for most of the apparent "global warming" effect, according to an analysis of box placement.
And of course Mann's hockey stick, we now know, was an artifact of data manipulation.

It appears the alarmists were right, like a stopped clock, back in the '70s when they warned against the coming ice age.
Gilbert
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2011
I did mention skin pigment, and i also mentioned that there are many variables.

http://www.nation...r-capita

http://www.nation...r-capita&b_map=1

BobSage
1 / 5 (10) Jul 11, 2011
Global warming is a religious belief. To the warmists, global warming is an article of faith, a given. Therefore, everything that happens must prove it is true. This is exactly the opposite approach that science takes.

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