Arctic Haze May Increase Melting

Scientists have been going up in government research planes and taking samples of the Arctic haze in hopes of determining whether the floating particles are accelerating the unprecedented warming going on in the far north. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that trap the Earth's heat are believed to be the chief cause of global warming. However, scientists suspect that airborne particles known as aerosols are also contributing to the Arctic meltdown. Air samples have been found to contain dust from Asian deserts, particles from incomplete burning of organic material from forest and cooking fires, and exhaust from automobile tailpipes, factory smokestacks and power plants. If aerosols prove to be a major factor in global warming, removing them could yield relatively fast benefits for the environment. Unlike carbon dioxide, which could stay in the air for decades or longer, could generally be removed in days.

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