The last five months have set new global temperature records, surprising scientists. Many people are wondering why.
A new study by famous US climate researcher James Hansen, released through Oxford Open Climate Change, argues that one of the key factors has been an unintended global geoengineering trial: the elimination of ship tracks.
Commercial ships release sulfur-containing exhaust as they go across the ocean. This can aid in creating marine clouds by emitting heat back into space via aerosols, commonly known as ship tracks.
However, to reduce the dangerous aerosol pollution emitted by these vessels, the International Maritime Organization, known as the IMO, set tight rules on shipping in 2020, lowering the sulfur level in gasoline from 3.5% to 0.5%.
Because of decreased marine clouds, more heat has been absorbed into the seas, hastening an energy imbalance in which more heat is stored than released.
Hansen told reporters on Thursday that the Earth’s imbalance in energy is far worse than it was a decade ago. He added that the disparity has now doubled. As a result, global warming would accelerate.
According to Hansen, the IMO rules, which were intended to decrease aerosol pollution, are going to have a long-term warming impact on the climate, pushing global temperatures about 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels and possibly as much as 2 degrees Celsius — the threshold governments agreed to strive to remain within under the Paris Accord — even faster.
The 1.5-degree threshold is known to be deader than that of a doornail, said Hansen, whose congressional testimony on the issue of climate change in 1988 helped raise awareness of global warming. And the two-degree barrier can be saved only with purposeful actions.
Before the sulfur decrease in ships, the only way to calculate the consequences was through modeling, according to Leon Simons, a climate researcher and co-author of the latest paper.
However, not everyone agrees. [Hansen] and his co-authors are out of the mainstream regarding their newly released paper in Oxford Open Climate Change, stated US climatologist Michael Mann in a blog post about the paper’s findings.
He added that the researcher does not address the most significant scientific data, such as NASA satellite data, Simons said.
Michael Diamond, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, ocean, and Atmospheric Science at Florida State University who was not involved in the study, agreed that the IMO rules are going to have a long-term adverse effect on Earth’s climate, as will additional reductions in air pollution, such as the big air quality enhancements we’ve seen over China since 2013.
Diamond agreed in an e-mail to CBC News that aerosol cooling has obscured around one-third of the warming caused by greenhouse gasses.
However, it’s vital to point out that we aren’t doomed to experience every bit of that ‘masked’ warming. At the same time, we clean up air pollution if we additionally decrease levels of shorter-lived greenhouse emissions like methane simultaneously.
A global rising price for greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon taxes.
Cooperation among Eastern and Western nations in a way which accommodates the developing world’s needs.
Efforts to reduce the planet’s radiation imbalance may include geoengineering.
Solar radiation control initiatives could involve blowing salty droplets from sailboats into the atmosphere, which would reflect the radiation from the sun back into space, causing cooling.
However, the authors cautioned that more research must be conducted to guarantee no unforeseen repercussions.
The report’s authors also stated that more studies, including satellite observations, are needed, as is communication about the potential effects of such a vast energy imbalance and what measures should be implemented to lessen the threat to people worldwide.
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