News Source: 
UW Today
January 15, 2013

In addition to causing smoggy skies and chronic coughs, soot – or black carbon – turns out to be the number two contributor to global warming. It’s second only to carbon dioxide, according to a four-year assessment by an international panel.

The new study concludes that black carbon, the soot particles in smoke and smog, contributes about twice as much to global warming as previously estimated, even by the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“We were surprised at its potential contribution to climate,” said Sarah Doherty, a University of Washington atmospheric scientist and one of four coordinating lead authors.

The silver lining may be that controlling these emissions can deliver more immediate climate benefits than trying to control carbon dioxide, she said.

The paper was made freely available online today (Jan. 15) in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.