Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Global Dimming. Yes, Global Dimming.

Prepare to be inundated with information about Global Dimming.

Yes, Global Dimming. It has absolutely nothing to do with the high reproductive rates among Lou Dobbs fans.

As usual, Wikipedia has the most concise summary of the concept:

Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's surface that was observed for several decades after the start of systematic measurements in 1950s. The effect varies by location, but worldwide it has been estimated to be of the order of a 4% reduction over the three decades from 1960–1990. However, since 1990, the trend has reversed.

In other words, less sunlight is making its way to earth. And what causes Global Dimming? Could there be any beneficial side effects? Here's Popsci.com:

Wait, now pollution is preventing global warming? That’s the conclusion of a recent study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, which says rising temperatures seen in Europe over the last few years result as much from the reduction of air pollution as from the creation of it.....

(The authors of the study) realized the temperature rise was assisted by more sunlight penetrating the newly pollution free skies. It seems that the stricter pollution standards, adopted in part to slow global warming, may have sped it up.....

The idea that pollution may be reflecting some of the sun’s energy is not new. The term global dimming is decades old, and some believed that the reduction in pollution was the cause global warming. But now, with the link between greenhouse gas pollution and global warming firmly established, papers like this one highlight how complex the situation is, and how solutions like simply cutting air pollution may have a range of unintended and counterintuitive consequences.

The link between greenhouse gas pollution and Global Warming is firmly established? I think the jury is still out on that one. (What caused our earlier ice ages to end?) Anyway, get ready to hear a lot about Global Dimming, which may or may not turn out to be a bad thing. We're still waiting on Nancy Pelosi to send out a memo before we develop any firm opinions, aren't we?

In the meantime, assuming that pollution increases Global Dimming, which slows the process of Global Warming, and assuming that Global Warming is the great evil of the age, here are some suggestions for helping decrease the amount of sunlight that hits the earth:

- Bring back Right Guard aerosol deodorant.
- Purchase a Ford F-150 STX. Drive it a lot.
- Drill for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve. To counteract the harmful effects of these wells on the environment, start a well fire once a month. Wait a couple of days before putting it out.
- Stop worrying about your carbon footprint. Build a house that makes Al Gore's look like Snoopy's. Heat it with coal.
-Discontinue emails. Send smoke signals.
- Do the right thing, and insist on products and food produced on the other side of the world. Lobby Congress to have these items transported to your city by coal-burning locomotives, steamships, and 1940's Soviet tractors.
- Move Senator Harry Reid to the top of Mount Everest, so his emissions will reach the upper atmosphere faster.

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