Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Black Carbon Pollution Is Two to Three Times Worse in India and China Than Previously Thought

Black carbon over northern India. Some estimates state that 18% of global warming is caused by black carbon. (Credit: NASA) Click to enlarge.
A new study has found that global estimates of black carbon emissions in certain areas of India and China could be two to three more times concentrated than previously thought.  Black carbon, a major element of soot, is a particle that is generated by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel or biomass.

Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers from France and China developed a new model for discerning the amount of black carbon pollution in the air.  Previous models had failed to take into account regional differences, and instead provided information at the country level.  By mapping regions rather than countries, the study indicated that parts of India and China could have as much as 130 percent higher black carbon concentrations than shown in standard country models.

An article in Monday’s New York Times pointed out that while Beijing may be sending out warnings, the situation in Indian cities like Delhi would seem to be even worse. 
“But for the first three weeks of this year, New Delhi’s average daily peak reading of fine particulate matter from Punjabi Bagh, a monitor whose readings are often below those of other city and independent monitors, was 473, more than twice as high as the average of 227 in Beijing.  By the time pollution breached 500 in Beijing for the first time on the night of Jan. 15, Delhi had already had eight such days.  Indeed, only once in three weeks did New Delhi’s daily peak value of fine particles fall below 300, a level more than 12 times the exposure limit recommended by the World Health Organization.“
Black Carbon Pollution Is Two to Three Times Worse in India and China Than Previously Thought

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