The Relative Roles of Sulfate Aerosols and Greenhouse Gases in Climate Forcing

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Science  16 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5106, pp. 311-314
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5106.311


Calculations of the effects of both natural and anthropogenic tropospheric sulfate aerosols indicate that the aerosol climate forcing is sufficiently large in a number of regions of the Northern Hemisphere to reduce significantly the positive forcing from increased greenhouse gases. Summer sulfate aerosol forcing in the Northern Hemisphere completely offsets the greenhouse forcing over the eastern United States and central Europe. Anthropogenic sulfate aerosols contribute a globally averaged annual forcing of –0.3 watt per square meter as compared with +2.1 watts per square meter for greenhouse gases. Sources of the difference in magnitude with the previous estimate of Charlson et al. are discussed.