"Dust that billows up from desert storms and arid landscapes has helped cool
the planet for the past several decades, and its presence in the atmosphere may
have obscured the true extent of global heating caused by fossil fuel
Atmospheric dust has increased by about 55% since the mid-1800s, an analysis
suggests. And that increasing dust may have hidden up to 8% of warming from
The analysis by atmospheric scientists and climate researchers in the US and
Europe attempts to tally the varied, complex ways in which dust has affected
global climate patterns, concluding that overall, it has worked to somewhat
counteract the warming effects of greenhouse gasses. The study, published in
Nature Reviews Earth and Environment
, warns that current climate models fail
to take into account the effect of atmospheric dust.
“We’ve been predicting for a long time that we’re headed toward a bad place
when it comes to greenhouse warming,” said Jasper Kok, an atmospheric physicist
at UCLA who led the research. “What this research shows is that so far, we’ve
had the emergency brake on.”
About 26m tons of dust are suspended in our atmosphere, scientists estimate.
Its effects are complicated."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics