April 8, 2009
NASA: Aerosols may cause arctic warming
U.S. space agency scientists say they've determined aerosols can influence climate by either reflecting or absorbing the sun's radiation in the atmosphere.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration researchers said such aerosols -- tiny airborne particles -- enter the Earth's atmosphere from both natural and human sources such as industrial pollution, volcanoes and residential cook stoves. The scientists said much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 might be due to such aerosols.
They found the mid and high latitudes are especially responsive to changes in the level of aerosols, which likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades.
The study is reported in the journal Nature Geoscience.