Sunshine, Lollipops... and Pollution?
The Global Dimming theory describes the decreasing amount of sunlight and solar radiation that passes through the atmosphere and to the Earth’s surface. This phenomenon is so severe, in fact, that numerous independent scientific studies have estimated the reduction of 4% globally in solar radiation reaching the ground since 1950. At this point, you’re probably thinking that this entire theory is bogus, as a reduction in solar heating obviously leads to a reduction in heat. And everyone knows that the climate in rapidly increasing in temperature. However, there lies the problem. Scientists who are working on the Global Dimming theory, especially founder Dr. Gerald Stanhill, warn that excess pollutants in the air cause the Global Dimming effect. These extra pollutants act like a mirror to incoming solar radiation, reflecting much of it back into space. If, then, the pollutants (such as the smog we see around all our cities) were to be taken away, we would no longer have a shield to reflect any radiation, causing a major jump in climate warming. This in turn would allow rapid heating of many of the world’s oceans, a large methane release, and even more heating (some scientists estimate upwards of a 10°C change by 2100!) As such, scientists are now scrambling for a solution to this Catch 22 – do we continue experiencing health problems due to pollution, or do we rapidly increase the rate of global warming? Dr. Stanhill suggests there’s an alternative: we need to take out the pollutants and Greenhouse Gases at the same time. This way, the lack of pollutants would allow a lot more solar radiation, but at the same time, with no GHGs to act as a blanket for the Earth, much of the warming would be dramatically decreased. Therefore, we need to come up with a plan not just to battle the pollutants we can see in our everyday lives, but the invisible killers. And we need to do it before it’s too late and the damages to our planet are irreversible.