The epidemic’s cleaner air adds warmth to the warming planet


Earth caused a slight fever in 2020, partly due to cleaner air from the epidemic lockdown, a new study has found.

For a brief period of time, temperatures in the eastern United States, Russia and China ranged from one degree (-3 to .37 ° C) to more than half to two-thirds. This is due to less soot and sulfate particles from the exhaust and burning coal of the car, which normally cools the atmosphere reflecting the sun’s heat, a Tuesday study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters informed of.

Overall, the planet was about .05 ° (.03 ° C) warmer for the year because the air had less cooling aerosols, which is the opposite pollution of carbon dioxide that you can see, the study found.

“Cleansing the air can actually heat the planet because pollution (soot and sulfate) results in cooling”, which climate scientists have long known, said Andrew Gettelman, head of the study, National Center for Is an atmospheric scientist at Atmospheric Research. They are calculated to compare the 2020 season to a computer model that simulated the 2020 epidemic lockdown without a reduction in pollution.

Gettelman said it was stronger with the effect of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions temporarily heated by less heat particles. This is because carbon remains in the atmosphere for more than a century, while aerosols remain in the air for a long time.

Even without a reduction in cooling aerosols, global temperatures in 2020 were already tampering with breaking annual heat records due to the burning of coal, oil and natural gas – and aerosol effects helped make NASA’s measurement the hottest year ever There may be enough to do. systemSaid NASA’s top scientist Gavin Schmidt, who was not part of the study, but said it corroborated other research.

“Clean air warms the planet a little, but it kills very few people with air pollution,” Gettelman said.

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