When it comes to global warming, the earth is being battered by a series of unfortunate blows. Besides the increase in greenhouse gases, which is leading to glacier melt and the dropping down of the Gulf Stream which warms Europe, the amount of sunlight reaching the earth is increasing, accelerating the pace of global warming.
A group of studies by scientists around the world have revealed a significant rise in the amount of sunshine penetrating our atmosphere, that is being absorbed by earth’s surface as heat.
This reverses a 30-year trend, from 1960 to 1990, during which the amount of heat reaching us from the sun decreased. This is known as global dimming. It’s almost as if we were being given time to “clean up our act” with regard to the emission of greenhouse gases. If that’s the case, humanity failed the test, because we have so far neglected to do so.
The irony is that global dimming was reversed partly by our success in cleaning up the atmosphere. Global dimming is assumed to have been caused by dust, smog and other pollutants, mainly from industrialized countries. These aerosol pollutants reduced the levels of sunshine reaching the earth by absorbing and scattering solar radiation, reflecting it back into space.
While the West may want to take credit for cleaning up these pollutants, which are dangerous to our health, the credit really goes to the Soviet Union. After its collapse, many ofits heavily polluting industries shut down.
Art credit: NOAA
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