Global dimming occurs when particulate pollution (primarily sulphur dioxide, soot and ash) from the burning of fossil fuels absorbs solar energy and reflects sunlight otherwise bound for the Earth’s surface back into space. Some scientists blame the phenomenon for causing the droughts in Ethiopia in the 1970s and 80s because the northern hemisphere oceans were not warm enough to allow rain formation. Pictured: Particulate pollution over Mexico City.

EarthTalk: What is Global Dimming?

EarthTalk® is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard of global warming, of course, but what on Earth is “global dimming?” – Max S., Seattle, WA Global dimming is a less well-known but real phenomenon resulting from atmospheric pollution. The burning of fossil fuels by industry and…

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