Warming and Soot

A while back I advanced the hypothesis that soot was a major driver of sea ice melting in the Arctic.  Black carbon deposits on ice and snow tend to force them to melt much faster by reducing their albedo.  I hypothesized that this might explain why there were record low summer sea ice coverages of late in Arctic sea ice but relatively average winter sea ice extents — black carbon can’t build up in the fall and winter because they are constantly covered with new snow and ice while soot that falls in the summer stays on the surface.

By the way, this would be good news – an anthropogenic effect due to soot is MUCH easier to correct than one due to CO2, as we know how to have a prosperous fossil fuel powered economy without soot but we don’t know how to have one without CO2.

Kevin Lawton has a post correlating past warming with areas that are susceptible to thaws, concluding that black carbon may have a role in past warming.  I have to think about his argument more, but he has some good links to recent work on black carbon and warming.

  • Greg

    “…as we know how to have a prosperous fossil fuel powered economy without soot but we don’t know how to have one without CO2.”

    So why is the entirety of the control argument centered on CO2 instead of the stuff that’s easier to control? Assuming that it’s even desirable to control CO2 in the first place?

  • Pielke has a link related to this subject.

  • hunter

    The $50billion wasted on AGW fear mongering could have developed a good and affordable technological fix for soot reduction by now.
    The opportunity cost the AGW promtoers have imposed on the world is quite high.

  • hunter

    Ha ha ha, you advanced the hypothesis did you? How hilariously deranged you really are.

    “we know how to have a prosperous fossil fuel powered economy without soot but we don’t know how to have one without CO2.”

    What a stupid piece of shit you are, really. We do in fact know how to have a prosperous economy powered by things other than fossil fuels. It’s clear that your world view doesn’t include anything outside the US, to the extent that you are utterly ignorant of places like Iceland, or Norway, or France. Truly pathetic.

  • Hasan

    If this is true, then the recent decline of sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean might be the result of the activity in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Over the past 10 years they have stripped off the forest cover, burned the trees and set up a huge operation refining oilsands.