The soot emitted when fossil fuels are burned, known as “black carbon”, could have a bigger impact on climate in some parts of the world than greenhouse gases, new research reveals.
"Black carbon, the soot emitted when fuels like diesel, wood and coal are burned, may have a bigger impact on climate in some areas than greenhouse gases. New research presented here at the American Geophysical Union meeting shows that the 20 percent decrease in the extent of Himalayan glaciers since the 1960s may be partly due to an influx of black carbon from Asian cities. Using satellite data and computer models, NASA atmospheric scientist William Lau and colleagues put together this animation of Earth’s atmospheric concentration of black carbon from August to November. The time of fastest glacial melting on the western Tibetan Plateau coincides with the highest concentration of black carbon in the area, Lau reported. ‘Over areas of the Himalayas, the rate of warming is more than five times faster than warming globally,’ Lau said in a press release. ‘Based on the differences it’s not difficult to conclude that greenhouse gases are not the sole agents of change in this region. There’s a localized phenomenon at play.’"
Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.
- Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
- After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
- Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
What do we see from watching birds move across the country?
- A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
- The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
- Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.