2011-04-22 12:44:06A hint of media bias.


An Associated Press release on the Arctic is quite unequivocal about CO2 and soot both contributing to ice melt:

Scientists: Soot may be key to rapid Arctic melt


Soot, or black carbon, is produced by auto and truck engines, aircraft emissions, burning forests and the use of wood- or coal-burning stoves.


Cutting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is the backbone of any effort to combat warming, both globally and within the Arctic, Quinn said.

But studies indicate that cutting the concentration of short-lived pollutants, such as soot, will reduce the rate of warming in the Arctic faster than cuts in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which last far longer in the atmosphere, she said. "This is a buying-time approach."



Soot? Yeah, that might cause the ice to melt, but blame oil, not coal:

Science Not Settled On Global Warming


Even drastic cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases, such as those advocated by anti-coal liberals, would have little effect on global warming, objective scientists have pointed out.

More important would be changes in how much soot is emitted, primarily by car and truck engines, say some scientists involved in the new study.


2011-04-22 12:56:33
Alex C


"Hint" like a hammer.

This is basically the same argument as the methane/CO2 approach, in that offsetting methane emissions first gets us faster results, but not in the long run.

That second article makes me gag.  The complete misrepresentation is almost of Moncktonian proportions.

I'm going to recheck the author to make sure...

Edit: Can't tell, but UGH!  The comments are absolutely terrible.

2011-04-23 08:00:53


A hint like a hammer.  I like that.  And oh, those crazy comments!  I had to stop reading after the first few - I could feel my brain turning to mush.  :)

2011-07-29 15:27:07another question
Peter Miesler
I've been going round and round with a character that feels this soot study shows that we don't know enough about atmospheric CO2 to act.  I've been trying to point out that this study is about those details of heat transportation we admittedly don't fully understand and that it says nothing about the consensus understanding of atmospheric CO2.
Can anyone shed light on how to relate the potential significance of these findings to the greater known picture of atmospheric GHGs.
From my understanding, and considering that dust on our SW Colorado mountain snow fields has been an issue for many years so I've got a little familiarity with the concept and dynamics involved (yea, yea total laymen level) it seems this and other new studies will be interesting and valuable, but not impact the bigger understanding at all.
Am I full of it, or can someone offer a more solid footing for my feeling.
Here are the last two post of my discussion:
citizenschallenge wrote:  Back to the soot study. . . . . . . not known to a significant degree?  not known in the minute details?  Come on, offer some real world information . . .

XXXX wrote:
The answer to your question is in the answer to this question: How much of Arctic warming is due to carbon soot versus man-made increases in CO2 versus other factors? Show me a pie chart, for example. If you do not know the answer to that question, then you have just validated my initial assertion at the top of this post.

2011-07-29 17:04:48
Paul D


Why do they seem to think it is an either/or situation?
It's the same 'need' for denial that these people have.

2011-08-02 15:07:02please, help explain some details
Peter Miesler

PD:   Why do they seem to think it is an either/or situation?

apparently that's what they want

PD:   It's the same 'need' for denial that these people have.

sure, sure, but how to confront the following questions?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"“We need to better understand the behavior of black carbon in the Arctic,” said Patricia Quinn . . .
That is a clear admission they do not know how much of Arctic warming is due to CO2 versus carbon soot."

~ ~ ~

"Right back at you, sport.

So, how much of Arctic warming is caused by carbon soot versus human added CO2?

You cannot answer that simple question."

~ ~ ~

"Except for one inconvenient fact, it is not settled how much global warming is caused by increases in CO2 versus how much global warming is caused by other factors."



I believe i have been holding up a good argument and linking to known science, but guess I'm irritated because I can't better answer the details.

If anyone can offer some help with these basic questions > please do

2011-08-02 16:22:53
Rob Painting

CC - probably the best summary of radiative forcing is in the IPCC. Dana has written a lot of blogs posts that reference this figure:


You will notice the radiative effect of Black Carbon is small compared to CO2. For more recent estimates you'll have to do some digging.

2011-08-02 16:41:04
Peter Miesler

Rob thanks for that start.  I'll look up those Dana articles, I assume SkS.

How about this question?  (I'm going to do some searching, but if someone knows please do share.)

How much suspended soot is there in the atmosphere at any one time?

~ ~ ~


never mind.


Soot is emitted into the atmosphere from combustion sources such as biomass burning, industrial and vehicle emissions. It is estimated that 8Tg/year of soot is emitted globally, accounting for about 5% of the total mass of anthropogenically produced aerosol.

2011-08-03 04:10:10
Dana Nuccitelli

Ramanathan has done some recent work that puts the radiative forcings from black carbon (positive) and aerosols (negative) are larger than previously thought (larger than in the IPCC report).  I talked about it a bit in Lindzen Illusion #1.

Breaking down the Arctic warming is a tough question because you've got effects from GHGs, black carbon, and the melting ice albedo feedback.

2011-08-03 04:53:30UNEP science assessment
Stephen Leahy


UNEP has been pushing hard for black carbon emission reductions for years and is funding studies.  From my article in June while at the Bonn climate talks where I interviewed Alcamo and others: 

“One-third of current global warming is due to emissions of black carbon, methane and ground-level ozone,” said Joseph Alcamo, chief scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


The UNEP/WMO assessment

2011-08-03 05:23:07


The black carbon contribution does seem to vary significantly depending upon the research institution.  I know Hansen and NASA was a strong advocate suggesting it was not only significant, but the most cost effective measure.  This raised interest even amongst the Republicans.

According to NASA via this link, Biomass, biofuel and on road (presumably diesel) seems to produce most of the black carbon, and this amounts to something like (I estimate from the graph) to be a 400mW/m2 forcing on average. 

This analysis still astonishes me, why it wasn't more controversial I have no idea.  Look at aviation for example, I think the airlines missed a good scoop there!