Prescription for Arctic Melting: Clear the Air Down South

Thursday, January 29, 2009 - 13:21 in Earth & Climate

SAN FRANCISCO--The quickest way to curb Arctic melting now underway may be to turn off the tap of short-lived pollutants swirling north from cities and industry far to the south, say scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Preliminary data suggest that these pollutants can increase Arctic surface temperatures as much as 3 degrees Celsius--an effect equal to what scientists expect from carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. But unlike carbon dioxide, these pollutants accumulate seasonally and dissipate far more quickly than CO2, suggesting that reducing these emissions represents one of the best hopes for staving off further unprecedented retreats of Arctic sea ice. [More]

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