Bjorn B. Stevens To What Extent Do Aerosol Particles in the Atmosphere Mask the Effects of Greenhouse Gases?
© Maximilian Dörrbecker
Max Planck SocietyHamburg, Germany
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Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
"The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) is an internationally renowned institute for climate research. Its mission is to understand Earth's changing climate. Scientists at the MPI-M investigate what determines the sensitivity of the Earth system to perturbations such as the changing composition of its atmosphere, and work toward establishing the sources and limits of predictability within the Earth system. For that purpose MPI-M develops and analyses sophisticated models of the Earth system. Targeted in-situ measurements and satellite observations complement the model simulations." (Source)
Since the rise of industrialization more and more greenhouse gases are being emitted into the atmosphere and as a result the earth’s climate is warming. It is known that part of the temperature rise is balanced by aerosol particles in the atmosphere – partly also emitted by human activity. The extent of that balancing however is unknown. As BJORN B. STEVENS explains in this video, the researchers used a new approach to estimate how strong this effect actually is: they used a top down perspective and asked if the assumptions made in earlier studies are consistent with current observations. Their findings show that the cooling effect of aerosol particles is not as large as previously calculated. Most significantly, this means that we do not have to fear an increase of global warming due to cleaner air.