Global Warming Might be Worse Than Scientists Initially Thought

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The effects of global warming can be widespread and significant. Rising sea levels due to ice melts cause coastal flooding and erosion. Global warming can also lead to an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, droughts, and heat waves. Loss of biodiversity may occur as many species may not be able to adapt quickly enough to the changing climate. Food and water shortages can occur due to changes in temperature and precipitation patterns affecting crop yields and water availability.

Human health can also be impacted by increased air pollution, the spread of disease through insects and pests, and heat-related illness and death. Rising sea levels and extreme weather events can also damage roads, buildings, and other infrastructure. It is important to note that these effects are interconnected and compound upon each other and are likely to affect different regions and populations differently.

The levels of desert dust in the atmosphere are more concerning than initially thought

New research that ScienceAlert writes about has revealed that the increasing amount of dust from deserts that is entering our atmosphere has been masking a significant portion of current global warming. The study, which used satellite data and ground measurements, found that since 1850, there has been a steady increase in the levels of microscopic airborne desert dust particles in the atmosphere. These dust particles have a cooling effect by reflecting sunlight back into space and disrupting high-altitude clouds that trap warmer air below.

Without this dust, current warming would be 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) higher. The factors that influence the amount of dust swept into the atmosphere are complex and include drier soils, higher wind speeds, and changes in human land use. It is uncertain whether the desert air particles will increase or decrease in the future, and it has yet to be incorporated into climate models.

Jasper Kok, an atmospheric physicist from the University of California, Los Angeles, explained:

We show desert dust has increased, and most likely slightly counteracted greenhouse warming, which is missing from current climate models,

The increased dust hasn’t caused a whole lot of cooling – the climate models are still close – but our findings imply that greenhouse gases alone could cause even more climate warming than models currently predict.

The new study appears in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment.