Science.-Natural aerosols can slow the warming of the climate

09-27-2021 OBSERVATIONS CONFIRM THAT AEROSOLS FORMED FROM COMPOUNDS EMITTED BY PLANTS CAN MAKE BRIGHTER CLOUDS POLICY RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND

MADRID, 27 (EUROPA PRESS)

Surface and satellite observations confirm that aerosols formed from compounds emitted by plants can make clouds brighter.

A study by researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, published in Nature Communications, estimated the impact of volatile organic compounds emitted by boreal forests on aerosol concentration and cloud properties.

Atmospheric aerosols scatter and absorb sunlight and influence cloud formation. However, these processes are not yet fully understood, leading to significant uncertainties when estimating the role of aerosols in climate change. To reliably estimate the effect of humans on climate change, it is necessary to be able to separate the effects of natural and anthropogenic aerosols.

The analysis was based on aerosol observations at the Hyytiälä SMEAR II station in Finland and remote sensing observations of cloud properties over southern Finland from NASA’s MODIS instrument.

The observations showed that biogenic aerosols formed from volatile organic compounds reduced the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface by scattering more radiation back into space.

In addition, these aerosols increased the number of cloud droplets and made them more reflective. Both processes become stronger as the temperature increases, indicating that these natural aerosols can slow down the warming of the climate.

The magnitudes of the radiative effects of these processes are similar and their combined effect is significant compared to the radiative effect of anthropogenic aerosols in the boreal region. Therefore, this natural mechanism must be considered in more detail in climate model simulations.

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