The Earth began to warm up more due to clean air – how is this possible?

We often hear from scientists that global warming is due to air pollution caused by human activities. Greenhouse gases and aerosols released into the air by industries prevent heat from escaping into space, causing the planet to warm up. However, an international group of researchers, which included scientists from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, as well as other research centers in Norway, Great Britain, Germany and the United States, came to the conclusion that a clean atmosphere, on the contrary, has caused the intense heating of the Earth in recent times. This is evidenced by analysis based on satellite data collected over many years. As it turned out, our planet began to absorb and retain heat the most since 2015, when the atmosphere began to clear.

The Earth began to warm up more due to clean air — how is this possible. The atmosphere has recently cleared, and this has led to the heating of the Earth. Photo.

The atmosphere has recently cleared, and this has led to the heating of the Earth

Why is the Earth warming up due to… for the “pure” atmosphere

Scientists report that in recent years, the atmosphere of our planet has cleared significantly, and this has caused its accelerated heating. However, it is not yet known exactly why this happened. Perhaps the culprit is greenhouse gases, which, due to the peculiarities of their chemical structure, act as a thermal insulation layer between the Earth and space.

There may also be fewer reflectors of solar energy in the atmosphere, such as clouds and aerosol particles. To test their assumptions, scientists used several computer models that took into account different levels of greenhouse gases and aerosols. As a result, it was discovered that the heating of the planet by 40% may be associated with a decrease in the amount of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Researchers report this in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.

The information that recently there have been much fewer aerosols in the atmosphere has been known to scientists for a long time, but previously the decrease in their concentration was not associated with the heating of the planet. Now, researchers have discovered that aerosols are related to climate phenomena. For example, due to the fact that their content decreased over Asia, monsoons became less intense in the region, and temperatures began to reach higher levels in the northern regions. In addition, summer storms have become more frequent and more intense.

Why the Earth is warming up due to the “pure” atmosphere. Aerosols affect clouds that reflect sunlight. Photo.

Aerosols affect clouds, which reflect sunlight

How aerosols affect the Earth's climate

Aerosol particles not only create a greenhouse effect, but are also capable of reflecting solar energy. In addition, they change the properties of clouds. Thanks to aerosols, clouds become thicker, lighter and last longer. Accordingly, they also contribute to the fact that less solar energy reaches the Earth.

However, aerosol particles are pollutants, so many modern industrial enterprises use modern technologies that purify emissions. That is why the number of aerosols began to decrease.

True, not all regions use modern technologies in production. According to satellite data, reductions in aerosol emissions and changes in cloudiness are observed mainly in northern regions. However, the heating of the Earth occurs not only in the north, but also in the south.

How aerosols affect the Earth's climate. Oceans and seas actively absorb solar energy. Photo.

Oceans and seas actively absorb solar energy

It is quite possible that this is due to the fact that it is not only aerosols that influence the absorption and reflection of solar energy. The melting of ice and snow, which also reflect sunlight, also plays a role in this. In addition, due to climate warming, there are fewer clouds over the oceans, and dark water absorbs solar energy well. Let us recall that last year scientists recorded a record heating of the world's oceans.

In addition, greenhouse gases play a certain role in heating the planet, and this is not only carbon, but also methane. Most likely, all these factors add heating that is not associated with a decrease in the amount of aerosols. But, in any case, the results indicate that global warming will increase even without human activities associated with emissions. Moreover, as the study reports, we can expect an accelerated increase in surface temperatures already this decade.

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Remember that climate change is already noticeable today. For example, 2023 set a number of temperature records. In particular, the hottest day in the last several tens of thousands of years was recorded. And it is quite possible that this year will become even hotter. The prerequisites for this are already in place; you can find out more about this by following the link.