Global dimming reversed in past decade; now brightening again
So, remember that big hubbub about “global dimming” a while back, whereby particulates (e.g., smog) in the earth’s atmosphere were reflecting light and taking the edge off global warming? Yeah, well, funny story: That’s not happening anymore. Two new papers in the journal Science show that the dimming trend — 2 to 3 percent less sunlight reaching the earth’s surface each decade between 1960 and 1990 — more or less reversed around 1990. Now, some parts of the globe have regained their pre-mid-century brightness, and others are brighter than ever. No one is entirely sure why it’s happening, but most fingers are pointing to decreased smog and soot pollution. Ironically — and by that we mean horrifically — those pollution victories may well mean that global warming will accelerate, what with more sunlight reaching the planet’s surface. Friggin’ atmosphere. Just leave us alone already!