February 20, 2019
Study: Land-sea warming contrast enhances climate change
RIVERSIDE – (INT) – Climate change is not only being reflected in the oceans, but on land as well. And, a study at UC Riverside spells troubling news for air quality all over the world.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change, shows that the contrast in warming between the continents and sea, called the land-sea warming contrast, drives an increased concentration of photo-chemical aerosols in the atmosphere that cause air pollution.

“A robust response to an increase in greenhouse gases is that the land is going to warm faster than the ocean. This enhanced land warming is also associated with increased continental aridity,” explained Robert Allen, an associate professor of earth sciences at UC Riverside.

The increase in aridity leads to decreased low cloud cover and less rain, which is the main way that aerosols are removed from the atmosphere.

To determine this, the researchers ran simulations of climate change under two scenarios. The results showed that the hotter Earth gets, the harder it’s going to be to keep air pollution down to a certain level without strict control over the sources of aerosols.

“The question is what level of air quality are we going to accept,” said Allen. “Even though California has some of the strictest environmental laws in the country we still have relatively poor air quality, and it’s much worse in many countries.”

Unless anthropogenic emission reductions occur, a warmer world will be associated with more aerosol pollution.
Story Date: February 18, 2019
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