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      Operational remote sensing of tropospheric aerosol over land from EOS moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer

      , , , , ,
      Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
      American Geophysical Union (AGU)

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          Climate forcing by anthropogenic aerosols.

          Although long considered to be of marginal importance to global climate change, tropospheric aerosol contributes substantially to radiative forcing, and anthropogenic sulfate aerosol in particular has imposed a major perturbation to this forcing. Both the direct scattering of shortwavelength solar radiation and the modification of the shortwave reflective properties of clouds by sulfate aerosol particles increase planetary albedo, thereby exerting a cooling influence on the planet. Current climate forcing due to anthropogenic sulfate is estimated to be -1 to -2 watts per square meter, globally averaged. This perturbation is comparable in magnitude to current anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing but opposite in sign. Thus, the aerosol forcing has likely offset global greenhouse warming to a substantial degree. However, differences in geographical and seasonal distributions of these forcings preclude any simple compensation. Aerosol effects must be taken into account in evaluating anthropogenic influences on past, current, and projected future climate and in formulating policy regarding controls on emission of greenhouse gases and sulfur dioxide. Resolution of such policy issues requires integrated research on the magnitude and geographical distribution of aerosol climate forcing and on the controlling chemical and physical processes.
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            Biomass burning in the tropics: impact on atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemical cycles.

            Biomass burning is widespread, especially in the tropics. It serves to clear land for shifting cultivation, to convert forests to agricultural and pastoral lands, and to remove dry vegetation in order to promote agricultural productivity and the growth of higher yield grasses. Furthermore, much agricultural waste and fuel wood is being combusted, particularly in developing countries. Biomass containing 2 to 5 petagrams of carbon is burned annually (1 petagram = 10(15) grams), producing large amounts of trace gases and aerosol particles that play important roles in atmospheric chemistry and climate. Emissions of carbon monoxide and methane by biomass burning affect the oxidation efficiency of the atmosphere by reacting with hydroxyl radicals, and emissions of nitric oxide and hydrocarbons lead to high ozone concentrations in the tropics during the dry season. Large quantities of smoke particles are produced as well, and these can serve as cloud condensation nuclei. These particles may thus substantially influence cloud microphysical and optical properties, an effect that could have repercussions for the radiation budget and the hydrological cycle in the tropics. Widespread burning may also disturb biogeochemical cycles, especially that of nitrogen. About 50 percent of the nitrogen in the biomass fuel can be released as molecular nitrogen. This pyrdenitrification process causes a sizable loss of fixed nitrogen in tropical ecosystems, in the range of 10 to 20 teragrams per year (1 teragram = 10(12) grams).
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              The relative roles of sulfate aerosols and greenhouse gases in climate forcing.

              Calculations of the effects of both natural and anthropogenic tropospheric sulfate aerosols indicate that the aerosol climate forcing is sufficiently large in a number of regions of the Northern Hemisphere to reduce significantly the positive forcing from increased greenhouse gases. Summer sulfate aerosol forcing in the Northern Hemisphere completely offsets the greenhouse forcing over the eastern United States and central Europe. Anthropogenic sulfate aerosols contribute a globally averaged annual forcing of -0.3 watt per square meter as compared with +2.1 watts per square meter for greenhouse gases. Sources of the difference in magnitude with the previous estimate of Charlson et al. are discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
                J. Geophys. Res.
                American Geophysical Union (AGU)
                01480227
                July 27 1997
                July 27 1997
                : 102
                : D14
                : 17051-17067
                Article
                10.1029/96JD03988
                7ba4b8e8-0040-42b5-851e-13a925cda1c7
                © 1997

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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                Self URI (article page): http://doi.wiley.com/10.1029/96JD03988

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