Wednesday, September 16, 2009

GLOBAL DIMMING: A NEW KIND OF CLIMATE CHANGE! When the Skies are Shut and there is No Rain Because they Have Sinned Against You...(2Ch 6:26)

Global dimming is a recently discovered phenomenon that reduces the amount of sunlight or solar radiation reaching the surface of our earth. In Asia, it is known as Asian brown clouds. The haze or an atmospheric brown cloud hanging over major Asian cities, essentially affects local conditions and can be swept away by a new weather system or rains. Global dimming is completely opposite to that of global warming where outgoing radiation is absorbed and not allowed to escape. It is only in recent years that we have been alerted to this another man-made feature of climate change. Until recently, scientists spurned the published evidence, since it directly opposed the evidence and observations for global warming.


Global warming induced by greenhouse gases gets most of the press coverage, but it is not the only climate change issue our planet is dealing with. The releases of tiny particles, called aerosols, into our atmosphere are disrupting our climate as well. Aerosols or particulates come from both natural sources (such as dust storms, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires) and human activity sources (primarily fossil fuel-fired power plants and internal combustion engines in cars and trucks). Aerosols affect Earth's energy flows (some scatter or reflect light, while others are strong absorbers of solar energy) and cause changes to the water cycle (aerosols play a critical role in cloud and raindrop formation). The overall effects of aerosols are complex, for there are many different types that influence several aspects of climate in a variety of ways.


It's simple -- particulates in the air reflect sunlight back into space. The more the particulates, the more the reflected sunlight. This is why volcanoes (like Mt. Pinatubo eruption), can throw vast numbers of sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere, and have a strong temporary cooling effect on the Earth.


COMBUSTION SOURCES: It is caused mostly by urban pollution such as vehicle emissions, soot and burning of wood and crops. We drive our cars. We ride in buses, trains, ships, and airplanes. We work in factories producing the products we purchase. We work in high-rise buildings that consume so much electric power that comes from Power Plants. We live in hotels and condominiums that consume energy similar to big buildings. We go to big shopping malls for shopping and entertainment. We cook our food and heat our water in our homes. And on and on and on. And All these places, vehicles, buildings, and activities that we do every day, all of them consume energy that almost all came from the burning of fossil fuels. 

The burning of fossil fuels is creating two effects. 
  1. Greenhouse gases (particularly CO2) that cause global warming 
  2. By-products (ash, soot, oxides, etc.) which are pollutants that cause global dimming

A Warning and Punishment  

FIREWORKS: Global Dimming is also a warning, and it is actually already a punishment, to the relentless fireworks people do every Christmas season and New Year’s Eve. Imagine the amount of particulates that people release into the atmosphere during the New Year’s Eve fireworks! We are being entertained to death! Increased numbers of particulates or pollution particles in the air are responsible for global dimming. 

These pollutants include sulfur dioxide, ash and soot. These pollutants have increased as the rate of burning of fossil fuels has increased. The pollutants lead to many human and environmental problems, such as smog, respiratory problems, and acid rain. But their impact on Global Dimming alone is more devastating. The pollutants form nuclei for cloud droplets. The water droplets in clouds coalesce around these particles. As air pollution increases more particulates are available for the formation of droplets. This makes them more reflective, resulting in less solar radiation (sunlight) reaching Earth's surface. 

What more serious is the indirect but long-term effect, wherein the particles in the atmosphere change the optical properties of clouds. This happens because the presence of man-made particles in the atmosphere increases the number of sites where water droplets can form. The effect is that up to 6 times as many water droplets form in a polluted air mass than the natural unpolluted air mass. But because the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere does not change, the droplets have to be smaller than they would naturally be. The reflectivity of the clouds depends on the surface area of the droplets, so the polluted clouds are more reflective than unpolluted ones. This is because many small droplets have a bigger surface area than fewer big ones. So, the polluted clouds reflect more sunlight back to space reducing the sunlight reaching the earth’s surface -- hence, global dimming.  

‘Global dimming’ has interfered with the hydrological cycle by reducing evaporation and may have reduced rainfall in some areas.


Air transport is also contributing to global dimming. The vapor from aircraft, known as contrails, also form water droplets, which increase the amount of solar radiation reflected back into space. Evidence for Global Dimming caused by aircrafts was found immediately after the attacks on September 11, 2001. All commercial flights were grounded for 3 days. Without the contrails from aircraft, the scientists found that the average temperature rose by approximately 1 degree centigrade. This is considered to be a staggering change in such a short period of time. There are other reports of evidence of global dimming have been published.


Less energy from the Sun should make the Earth cooler. However, the measurements reveal that the average temperature or Earth is increasing. This is the result of many years of research into global warming, and is one of the main reasons why so many scientists found it difficult to accept the phenomenon of global dimming. Until quite recently the main concern with scientists and governments has been on the Greenhouse Gases as by-products of burning fossil fuels. These reduce the amount of radiated heat from the Earth from leaving the atmosphere. The discovery of global dimming shows that the models used for global warming have seriously underestimated the power of global warming. The effects of global dimming have led to fears that global dimming has been masking the true severity of global warming. At the moment a number of predictions provide a prediction of 5 degrees increase in temperature for the next 100 years. Now that global dimming is known, this suggests that the true power of global warming is much higher than the previous estimates.


Global dimming can be reduced by cleaning up the emissions from burning fossil fuels and the emissions from vehicles. But solving global dimming alone is not a solution to the problem of Climate Change! This is because a focus on particulates alone would result in an increased global warming. The proper approach is to tackle the sources of both greenhouse gases and air particulates simultaneously. Some have theorized that the heat waves in Europe in 2003, resulting in thousands of deaths, was the result of the action of the European Community to reduce particulate emissions, without considering a reduction in greenhouse gases.


One predication is that irreversible damage would be only be about 30 years away. The effects on a global scale have also been predicted, if global dimming is reduced without reducing the greenhouse gases. including the melting of ice in Greenland, and the drying of tropical rain forests. This, in turn will reduce the natural carbon dioxide sinks available, thereby increasing carbon dioxide levels even further. These and other effects could combine to lead to an increase of 10 degrees centigrade in temperature over the next 100 years, not the standard 5 degrees which most models currently predict. Experts say that rice harvests would have been up to 10.6 per cent higher if the brown haze had not been there. With less sunlight coming through the clouds, some of the biggest cities in Asia are getting darker by 10-25 per cent. The Tibetan glaciers are melting, causing water shortage across Asia. Besides, if the cloud mixes with greenhouse gases, it will change weather patterns and destroy crops all over the world. 


Polluted clouds stopped the heat of the sun getting through. That heat was needed to draw the tropical rains to the places where it is needed. So the Global Dimming can stop life giving rain belt going to places where it is needed most. This results in great famines and food crises as happened in Africa! Scientists already found a direct link between Global Dimming and Drought. This means that what came out of our vehicle exhaust pipes and power stations contributed to the deaths of a million people in Africa, and afflicted 50 million more. Going to Asia, where the same monsoon brings rainfall to 3.6 billion people. This air pollution and the Global Dimming can also have a detrimental impact on this Asian monsoon. We are not talking about few millions of people we are talking about few billions of people!


The death toll that global dimming may have already caused is thought to be massive. Climatologists studying this phenomenon believe that the reflection of heat have made waters in the northern hemisphere cooler. As a result, less rain has formed in key areas and crucial rainfall has failed to arrive over the Sahel in Northern Africa. In the 1970s and 1980s, massive famines were caused by failed rains which climatologists had never quite understood why they had failed. If global dimming problems are only addressed, then the effects of global warming will increase even more. This may be what happened to Europe in 2003. 

In Europe, various measures have been taken in recent years to clean up the emissions to reduce pollutants that create smog and other problems, but without reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in parallel. This seems to have had a few effects: This may have already lessened the severity of droughts and failed rains in the Sahel. However, it seems that it may have caused, or contributed to, the European heat wave in 2003 that killed thousands in France, saw forest fires in Portugal, and caused many other problems throughout the continent. The impacts of addressing global dimming only would increase global warming more rapidly. Irreversible damage would be only about 30 years away. Global level impacts would include:

The melting of ice in Greenland, which would lead to more rising sea levels. This in turn would impact many of our major world cities.

Drying tropical rain forests would increase the risk of burning. This would release even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further increasing global warming effects. (Some countries have pushed for using "carbon sinks" to count as part of their emission targets. This has already been controversial because these store carbon dioxide that can be released into the atmosphere when burnt. Global dimming worries increase these concerns even more.

These and other effects could combine to lead to an increase of 10 degrees centigrade in temperature over the next 100 years, not the standard 5 degrees which most models currently predict. This would be a more rapid warming than any other time in history. With such an increase, vegetation will die off even more quickly. Soil erosion will increase and food production will fail. A Sahara type of climate could be possible in places such as England, while other parts of the world would fare even worse. Such an increase in temperature would also release one of the biggest stores of greenhouse gases on earth, methane hydrate, currently contained at the bottom of the earth’s oceans and known to destabilize with warming. This gas is 8 times stronger than carbon dioxide in its greenhouse effect. As the documentary also added, due to the sheer amounts that would be released, by this time, whatever we would try to curb emissions, it would be too late.

'This is not a prediction," the documentary said, "it is a warning of what will happen if we clean up the pollution while doing nothing about greenhouse gases."


We must emphasize that the source of global warming and global dimming must be tackled together. Drastic reduction of the burning of fossil fuels is required to reduce the effects of greenhouse gases and the particulates which are giving rise to global dimming.


Scientists are stressing that the roots of both global dimming causing pollutants and global warming causing greenhouse gases have to be dealt with together and soon.

We may have to change our way of life, the documentary warned. While this has been a message for over 20 years, as part of the climate change concerns, little has actually been done.

"Rapidly," the documentary concluded, "we are running out of time." The situation is so alarming that we need to awaken ourselves and take corrective measures as early as possible.


So, we have heard the human side of Climate Change issues. Scientists, magazines, and documentaries are giving proofs to the existence, damages, and future implications of Global Dimming. They give their fears, findings, and recommendations. They also admitted that humans are the culprits of these Global Environmental issues.
Global Dimming is an unexpected issue of Climate Change. At first, scientists don’t even believe that it could exist. 

How about the possibility that another unknown factor in Climate Change could suddenly appear and proven to exist?
The Global Climate Change crisis is way beyond human solutions. How can someone who caused the problem, provide the solution without changing his thought and attitude? So, where do we go from here?

Let's go to and listen to what the Creator God of the Universe has to say.

  • I gave you absolutely nothing to eat in all your cities, a shortage of food in all your communities, yet you did not return to Me--the LORD's declaration. (Amo 4:6 HCSB)
  • I also withheld the rain from you while there were still three months until harvest. I sent rain on one city but no rain on another. One field received rain while a field with no rain withered. (Amo 4:7)
  • Two or three cities staggered to another city to drink water but were not satisfied, yet you did not return to Me--the LORD's declaration. (Amo 4:8) 
  • Your guilty acts have diverted these things from you. Your sins have withheld My bounty from you, for wicked men live among My people. (Jer 5:25 HCSB)
  • The ground is cracked since no rain has fallen on the land. The farmers are ashamed; they cover their heads. (Jer 14:4)
  • Even the doe in the field gives birth and abandons her fawn since there is no grass. Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights panting for air like jackals. Their eyes fail because there are no green plants. (Jer 14:5-6)
  • Their nobles send their servants for water. They go to the cisterns; they find no water; their containers return empty. They are ashamed and humiliated; they cover their heads. (Jer 14:3 HCSB)
  • For He makes waterdrops evaporate; they distill the rain into its mist, which the clouds pour out and shower abundantly on mankind. (Job 36:27-28)
  • Can anyone understand how the clouds spread out or how the thunder roars from God's pavilion? (Job 36:29)
  • Look, He spreads His lightning around Him and covers the depths of the sea. For He judges the nations with these; He gives food in abundance. (Job 36:30-31)
  • He covers His hands with lightning and commands it to hit its mark. The thunder declares His presence; the cattle also, the approaching storm. For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance. (Job 36:32-33)
  • With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud] that cometh betwixt. The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour. (Job 36:32-33 KJV)
  • ...I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. (Isa 5:6 KJV)
  • When the skies are shut and there is no rain because they have sinned against You... (2Ch 6:26)
  • If I close the sky so there is no rain... (2Ch 7:13)
  • Though our guilt testifies against us, LORD, act for Your name's sake. Indeed, our rebellions are many; we have sinned against You. (Jer 14:7)
  • Can any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Or can the skies alone give showers? Are You not the LORD our God? We therefore put our hope in You, for You have done all these things. (Jer 14:22)
  • Ask the LORD for rain in the season of spring rain. The LORD makes the rain clouds, and He will give them showers of rain and crops in the field for everyone. (Zec 10:1)
  • Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. (Zec 10:1 KJV)
  • For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what [is] his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name. (Amo 4:13 KJV)

References: BBC Horizon documentary, Global, Merinews

NOTE: Bible verses used in this article is based on the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). If not, the quoted translation is mentioned.



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