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Published: Monday 16 September, 2013

cheap heels cheap heels Asian Brown Cloud of pollution contributes to global warming



The Asian Brown Cloud, the thick haze caused by pollution that hangs over southern Asia, is rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers and could precipitate an environmental disaster that could affect billions of people, scientists have warned.



A study published in the British journal Nature claims the thick plume that languishes over the region is as much to blame as greenhouse gases for the warming of 46,000 glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, the thirdlargest ice mass on the planet.



The effect cheap heels s have been linked to the retreat over the past half century of glaciers in the Himalyas which supply water to major rivers including the Yangtze, Ganges and Indus. These rivers in turn comprise the chief water supply for billions of people in China, India and other south Asian countries.



The consequences for China, India and other countries whose rivers flow from this source are incalculable, with the melting already being blamed for downstream flooding in late summer.



But the longterm worry is of drought as the glaciers continue to shrink, according to researchers led by Veerabhadran Ramanthan, professor of atmospheric sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California.



The cloud is caused mainly by domestic wood and dung fires plus smoke from the burning of forests and fields for agriculture. In addition vehicle exhausts, power plants and factory chimneys add to the mix.



However, the analysis of the pollutionfilled clouds also offers hope that the region may be able to arrest the alarming retreat of such glaciers and ensure the security of water supplies by reducing pollution, for instance by cutting the dependence on wood burning stoves.



The team used three unnammed aircraft flying in the skies over the Maldives to take data above, below and inside the cloud, which hangs over South Asia, parts of Southeast Asia and the northern Indian Ocean. The researchers validated the data with groundbased measurements taken at the Maldivian island Hanimadhoo.



The brown haze was believed to cool the land and sea beneath them by filtering out sunli cheap heels ght, known as global dimming, and not contribute much to global warming.



But the team discovered that black soot particles in the cloud absorbed the sunlight and therefore warmed the atmosphere around them more than believed. They calculated that the cloud boosted the effect of solar he cheap heels ating on the air around it by almost 50 percent.



The conventional thinking is that brown clouds have masked as much as 50 percent of the global warming by greenhouse gases through the socalled global dimming, said Dr Ramanathan.



While this is true globally, this study reveals that over southern and eastern Asia, the soot particles in the brown clouds are intensifying the atmospheric warming rend caused by greenhouse gases by as much as 50 percent.



The combined heating effect of greenhouse gases and the brown clouds, which contain soot, trace metals and other particles from a growing cadre of urban, industrial and agricultural sources, is enough to account for the retreat of Himalayan glaciers observed in the past half century.



The rapid melting of these glaciers, the thirdlargest ice mass on the planet, if it becomes widespread and continues for several more decades, will have unprecedented downstream effects on southern and eastern Asia, the Nature article concluded.



The main cause of climate change is the buildup of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels, said Achim Steiner, United Nations undersecretary general and executive director of the UN Environment Programme, which helped support the research.



But brown clouds, whose environmental and economic impacts are beginning to be unraveled by scientists, are complicating and in some cases aggravating their effects.



The new findings should spur the international community to ever greater action, in particular at the next crucial climate change convention meeting in Indonesia this December. For it is likely that in curbing greenhouse gases we can tackle the twin challenges of climate change and brown clouds and in doing so, reap wider benefits from reduced air pollution to improved agricultural yields, Steiner added. cheap heels

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