Understanding the Roles of Anthropogenic and Natural Sources of Aerosols in the Global Atmosphere


A special issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research has published the findings of an international team of researchers led by Argonne National Laboratory attempting to understand trends in aerosol optical depth around the world since 1980.  The DOE-funded team hypothesized that changing patterns of aerosol emissions aerosol precursors from man-made sources might be able to explain observed trends in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.  The hypothesis was confirmed for most regions of the world.  The results of the study provide valuable insight into which sources and regions contribute the most and therefore offer the best prospects for reducing aerosols and their contributions to global climate change.


D.G. Streets, F. Yan, M. Chin, T. Diehl, N. Mahowald, M. Schultz, M. Wild, Y. Wu, and C. Yu (2009). Anthropogenic and Natural Contributions to Regional Trends in Aerosol Optical Depth, 1980-2006 JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 114, D00D18, doi:10.1029/2008JD011624, 200.