PerspectiveClimate Change

Solving the Aerosol Puzzle

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Science  26 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5406, pp. 1273-1275
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5406.1273

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Natural and human factors contribute to the presence of aerosols in Earth's atmosphere. These aerosols reflect some sunlight back into space, thus effectively cooling the atmosphere. This effect may cancel out some of the global warming caused by greenhouse gases, but the magnitude of direct and indirect aerosol effects on the radiation budget of Earth remains quite uncertain. Concerted efforts with different observational platforms in conjunction with sophisticated climate modeling are required to solve this problem.