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‘Atmospheric particles slow global warming’

US: Volcanic ash from small-scale eruptions and soot resulting from the burning of fossil fuels may be responsible for slowing the rate of global warming by 20-percent, according to the results of a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) study, published in the online edition of Science.
In the stratosphere, small, airborne particles reflect sunlight back into space, which leads to a cooling influence at the ground. These particles are also called “aerosols” and the study explored their recent climate effects using LiDAR technology. Through the study, the NOAA determined that an increase in the number of particles in the atmosphere “has offset about a third of the current climate warming influence of carbon dioxide (CO2) change during the past decade.”
“Stratospheric aerosol increased surprisingly rapidly in that time, almost doubling during the decade,” NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) Physicist and study author John Daniel said in a statement. “The increase in aerosols since 2000 implies a cooling effect of about 0.1 watts per square meter–enough to offset some of the 0.28 watts per square meter warming effect from the carbon dioxide increase during that same period.”
Authors of the paper, The Persistently Variable “Background” Stratospheric Aerosol Layer and Global Climate Change, published in the online edition of Science are: Susan Solomon, University of Colorado; John Daniel, Chemical Sciences Division of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory; Ryan Neely, CIRES-University of Colorado and NOAA-ESRL; J.P. Vernier, NASA-Langley Research Center and University of Paris; Ellsworth Dutton, Global Monitoring Division of NOAA-ESRL; and Larry Thomason, NASA-Langley.
Source: NOAA & Science