When much of the world was plunged into lockdown last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a lot of speculation that the lack of activity would benefit the environment. However, a new study shows that these changes to our lifestyles actually slightly warmed the planet for several months in 2020 in a counterintuitive finding that underscores the role of airborne particles in influencing temperatures.
By Cassie B. via Natural News.
In fact, the temperatures in some places of the eastern United States as well as China and Russia rose by as much as half to two-thirds of a degree, according to the study, which was published in Geophysical Research Letters. This was because there were fewer soot and sulfate particles in the air from car exhaust and burning coal. These particles normally have a temporary cooling effect on the atmosphere as they reflect the sun’s heat.
When the emissions of aerosols dropped suddenly last spring, it meant that more of the sun’s heat was able to reach the planet, particularly in countries that are heavily industrialized and normally pump significant amounts of aerosols into the atmosphere. For example, the warming reached around 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit across much of Russia and the United States. The effects were mixed in the tropics and relatively minor in the southern hemisphere, where the emissions of aerosol generally tend to be far less pervasive.
The study’s lead author, National Center for Atmospheric Research Atmospheric Scientist Andrew Gettelman explained: “Cleaning up the air can actually warm the planet because that (soot and sulfate) pollution results in cooling.”
To perform his calculations, he compared the weather in 2020 to computer models that simulated what the conditions in 2020 would have likely been without the reductions in pollution due to pandemic lockdowns. He and his coauthors used two leading climate models to run simulations, making adjustments to the emissions of aerosols and using actual meteorological conditions seen during the year, such as winds.
Overall, the planet was .05 degrees warmer for 2020 on average because there were fewer cooling aerosols in the air. The temporary warming effect caused by the reduction in particles was stronger last year than the effect of the reduction in heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions. This is because carbon remains in the atmosphere for more than a century and its effects are seen over the long term, whereas the effects of aerosols can be seen for around a week.
Although there were warming effects in the short term, Gettelman said that the pandemic may slow climate change in the long term given the more gradual influence of reduced carbon dioxide emissions on climate.
Even without the decrease in cooling aerosols, the global temperatures for the year were already showing the potential to break the yearly heat record due to burning oil, natural gas and coal. However, the aerosol effect may be enough for this to go down as the hottest year since NASA started measuring temperatures.
Gettelman said: “Clean air warms the planet a tiny bit, but it kills a lot fewer people with air pollution.”
Different study shows lockdowns improved air quality in some ways, but less than expected
Meanwhile, a study that was published in the journal Science Advances found that although COVID lockdowns improved air quality to some degree, those gains were smaller than researchers expected and fluctuated depending on the city studied. In that study, the researchers found small reductions in the levels of NO2, an air pollutant caused by traffic emissions that has been linked to respiratory problems, and increases in concentrations of ozone, which is harmful to human and animal health as well as crops. The concentrations of PM2.5, meanwhile, dropped in all of the cities studied except for Paris and London.
It’s still too early to say how the changes in human activity last year will impact the environment in the long term, but it’s already clear that the lockdowns actually caused global temperatures to rise.
Sources for this article include:
COVID-19 lockdowns are taking down an independent news outlet
Nobody said running a media site would be easy. We could use some help keeping this site afloat.
Colleagues have called me the worst fundraiser ever. My skills are squarely rooted on the journalistic side of running a news outlet. Paying the bills has never been my forte, but we’ve survived. We have ads on the site that help, but since the site’s inception this has been a labor of love that otherwise doesn’t bring in the level of revenue necessary to justify it.
When I left a nice, corporate career in 2017, I did so knowing I wouldn’t make nearly as much money. But what we do at NOQ Report to deliver the truth and fight the progressive mainstream media narrative that has plagued this nation is too important for me to sacrifice it for the sake of wealth. We know we’ll never make a ton of money this way, and we’re okay with that.
Things have become harder with the coronavirus lockdowns. Both ad money and donations that have kept us afloat for a while have dropped dramatically. We thought we could weather the storm, but the resurgence of lockdowns that mainstream media and Democrats are pushing has put our prospects in jeopardy. In short, we are now in desperate need of financial assistance.
The best way NOQ Report readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We need approximately $17,300 to stay afloat through March when we hope the economy will be more open, but more would be wonderful and any amount that brings us closer to our goal is greatly appreciated.
The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. This shouldn’t be the case as our traffic the last year has been going up dramatically. June, 2018, we had 11,678 visitors. A year later in June, 2019, we were up to 116,194. In June, 2020, we had 614,192. In November, 2020, we hit 1.2 million visitors.
We’re heading in the right direction and we believe we’re ready talk to patriotic investors who want to not only “get in on the action” but more importantly who want to help America hear the truth. Interested investors should contact me directly with the contact button above.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report going.