NASA scientists can observe greenhouse gases from space, and they say soot, mostly from diesel engines, is causing as much as 25% of all global warming, by reducing the ability of snow and ice to reflect sunlight. “We suggest that soot contributes to near worldwide melting of ice that is usually attributed solely to global warming,” say NASA’s James Hansen and Larissa Nazarenko.

They say soot has twice the effect on global warming as carbon dioxide. This is actually not bad news, because while it will take money, replacing diesel engines is a possibility, while doing without fossil fuels is not?at least not for the near future. Besides diesel engines, other sources of soot come from the burning of wood, animal dung, and vegetable oil.

Levels of airborne soot as high as about 100 parts per billion have been found in the Alps, which have begun to melt in the last few years. Parts of the world that do not produce much soot can still be affected by it, since it can be carried by the wind. NASA satellites can see a brown haze, caused by soot, in rapidly developing countries, such as India and China.

There are lots of ways to learn about the future?and some of them are secret.

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