Saturday, August 11, 2007

Arctic Thaw

Soot or carbon black is the natural and industrial ash like substance. It has now been proved that soot emissions from U.S. coal burning may have significantly contributed and been a primary culprit for the fast melt-down of the arctic ice sheet. According to new research, an eight-fold increase in soot in the Arctic snow had taken place during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.Soot reduces the reflectivity of snow and ice allowing the surface to absorb more energy from the sun.

When the United States switched to oil and gas and instituted air pollution controls, the amount of soot falling in the Arctic dropped substantially. However, soot is still a factor in Arctic warming because of coal emissions from the booming economies of Asia.

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