Aerosols: Smoke and Mirrors of the Climate System

May 16, 2011 - 3:00pm

Solid and liquid particles smaller than cloud drops are ubiquitous in the atmosphere. Their short residence time relative to long-lived greenhouse gases makes comparisons of relative radiative forcing since the pre-industrial era a la IPCC, problematic at best. What is more, acceptable ranges of their loading and optical properties can be made to create positive (smoke) and negative (mirrors) forcing of the climate system - a very dangerous situation if public policy is guided by magic.

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