Scattered across sky like a film of dust over a window, vast quantities of tiny black soot and other industrial particulates from Southeast Asia have been spreading across the North Pacific each spring, becoming a major driver in climate change along the U.S. West Coast and Arctic.
Measurements from 2001 and 2004 show
springtime transport of black carbon
across the Pacific Ocean in spring.
Fang Li, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
More than 75 percent of the tiny bits and aerosol particles carried at high altitudes over western North America during spring comes from Asian industry and traffic, according to new research by Professor V. Ramanathan and his team at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.
They found that the soot had a surprising impact — heating the sky over the Pacific Ocean much more than expected, perhaps has much as 40 percent of the forcing blamed on carbon dioxide over the past century.
“It was a major surprise,” said Ramanathan in a release. “When we came up with the preliminary results, we had to check it and recheck it.”