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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 16:08 EDT

Black Carbon Creates ‘Heat Pump’ Over Himalayas

December 15, 2009

Tiny air pollution particles commonly called soot, but also known as black carbon, are in the air and on the move throughout our planet. The Indo-Gangetic plain, one of the most fertile and densely populated areas on Earth, has become a hotspot for emissions of black carbon (shown in purple and white). Winds push thick clouds of black carbon and dust, which absorb heat from sunlight, toward the base of the Himalayas where they accumulate, rise, and drive a “heat pump” that affects the region’s climate. Please click on image to view animation. Credit: NASA