Effects of Aerosol from Biomass Burning on the Global Radiation Budget

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Science  05 Jun 1992:
Vol. 256, Issue 5062, pp. 1432-1434
DOI: 10.1126/science.256.5062.1432


An analysis is made of the likely contribution of smoke particles from biomass burning to the global radiation balance. These particles act to reflect solar radiation directly; they also can act as cloud condensation nuclei, increasing the reflectivity of clouds. Together these effects, although uncertain, may add up globally to a cooling effect as large as 2 watts per square meter, comparable to the estimated contribution of sulfate aerosols. Anthropogenic increases of smoke emission thus may have helped weaken the net greenhouse warming from anthropogenic trace gases.