If your are wondering what exactly is that canopy of white that has settled right above you as you step out of your home, be assured it is Smog. Deadly pollutants and unhealthy particles accumulate to give rise to this pall that blankets the clear sky above us.
It is quite justified for your senses to get stirred considering the plausible consequences of pollution. But wait! Scientists augur a bright tomorrow.
Fuel emissions, power plant exhausts and forest fires are anyways known to create a layer of aerosol that blocks incoming solar radiation, thus cooling the planet. In fact one of the recent researches reveals a compelling fact which affirms in the absence of pollution the earth would get almost 0.5 to 1.1 degree Celsius warmer. Therefore, pollution acts as a potential instrument to stop global warming, cannot be ruled out. Studies also confirm that, aerosol innovations directed towards reducing air pollution multiply the chances of increased precipitation- an inevitable response of increased temperatures.
The thing about aerosols is, their size is accommodative to interaction with sunlight. This causes scattering leading to a cooling effect that strengthens with the growth in the size of aerosols. Their formation as minute clouds reflect black sunlight, thereby assuring a cool down. The most effective is sulphate aerosol- the longer they exist in the atmosphere, their effect intensifies.
Human created aerosols are believed to negate or stop global warming impact owing to tug of war – let loose between green houses gases and accumulated pollutants- acting as natural coolants.
But the catch is, in case we stop emitting anthropogenic aerosols right now, the remnants will precipitate, unlike greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which stays up in the atmosphere for a longer duration.
The Paris accord confirmed, the world deserves a temperature maintenance cap at least below 2 degree Celsius of warming in order to reach the elementary stages of the most ambitious climate goals. This has vehemently proposed the idea of maintaining balance in the aerosol reserves and pollution.
Environment groups and authorities seem to be in a limbo considering the need to cut down pollution in order to protect human health, which on the other hand can speed up global warming. The other dilemma lies in the fact that geoengineeering intervention to release aerosols might have a detrimental impact on the circulation system of the atmosphere.
A paper that interrogated the impact of saving polar icecaps with aerosol, concluded that it might land up affecting the South Asian monsoon. So, uncertainties loom large as we are left with the idea of allowing pollution in order to curb global warming.