Specialists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research have recorded an unexpected effect from the pandemic on the Earth’s climate. Decrease of emissions of pollutants has led to a slight warming. This is reported in an article published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Researchers attribute the short-term warming of the atmosphere to the fact that aerosols ejected into the atmosphere block sunlight, but lockdowns around the world led to a decrease in the concentration of suspended particles in the air. As a result, more solar heat has reached the planet’s surface, especially in countries like the United States and Russia.
Temperatures over some parts of the Earth’s surface last spring were on average 0.1-0.3 degrees Celsius higher than would be expected from prevailing weather conditions. This increase was most noticeable in areas characterized by high aerosol emissions (by 0.37 degrees Celsius).
While aerosols tend to brighten clouds and reflect heat from the Sun back into space, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have the opposite effect, trapping heat at the planet’s surface and raising global temperatures. Small reductions in carbon dioxide emissions are expected to lead to a longer-term effect, inhibiting global warming.