Ice forms on the shore of the East River due to unusually low temperatures caused by a polar vortex in New York January 7, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Ice forms on the shore of the East River due to unusually low temperatures caused by a polar vortex in New York January 7, 2014. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

A new NASA research shows that the Earth has cooled down in areas where more trees have been lost and an increasing amount of fossil fuel is getting burnt. That is, areas with heavy industrialisation are witnessing a decline in temperature.

The findings are in sharp contrast to existing theories that blame burning of fossil fuels in power stations and for other uses as a reason behind global warming. Environmentalists say that the temperature is increasing because of high levels of carbon dioxide produced, which causes the global greenhouse effect.

The new research does not contradict the effects of carbon dioxide on global warming, according to the Express. However, it does indicate that aerosols, which are also released by burning of fossil fuels, cools the environment, at least in the short term.

The research was aimed at quantifying climate change, for which researchers need to know the Transient Climate Response (TCR) and Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) of Earth. A NASA spokesman said it was "well known" that aerosols such as those emitted in volcanic eruptions and power stations work to cool Earth, at least temporarily. This happens as the aerosols reflect solar radiation away from the planet.

“In a similar fashion, land use changes such as deforestation in northern latitudes result in bare land that increases reflected sunlight,” he further said.

This was the first time NASA researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) were able to calculate the temperature impact of greenhouse gases, natural and man-made aerosols, ozone concentrations and land use changes. The calculations were based on the historical observations from 1850 to 2005, and the researchers used a massive ensemble of computer simulations.

"Analysis of the results showed that these climate drivers do not necessarily behave like carbon dioxide, which is uniformly spread throughout the globe and produces a consistent temperature response,” said the spokesman.

The assumptions made to account for these drivers are too simplistic and result in incorrect estimates of TCR and ECS, said Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist and director of GISS, who is also a co-author of the study.

According to the NASA study, climate change over the last 150 years may estimate future global temperatures, reports the Financial Express.

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