By: Bethany Nelson, Vivian Colangelo, Max Bonoma, Steve Marr
Tiny particles that are released when fuels are burned cause global dimming. Like global warming, this process may change rainfall patterns around the world. The amount of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface has decreased by about 2 per cent every ten years, because more sunlight is being reflected back into space.
Global Dimming was first discovered in the 1980s. The sun is still shining bright as ever, its the thick clouds causing all of the trouble. They bounce back the sunlight into space, preventing it from reaching the Earth’s surface, the results are darkness and the cold.
Clouds are formed when water droplets are seeded by air-borne particles, such as pollen. Polluted air results in clouds with larger number of droplets than unpolluted clouds. This then makes those clouds more reflective. More of the sun’s heat and energy is therefore reflected back into space. This reduction of heat reaching the earth is known as Global Dimming.
As we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas for energy or cut down and burn forests to create pastures and plantations, carbon accumulates and overloads our atmosphere.
Fossil fuel use, as well as producing greenhouse gases, creates other by-products. These by-products are also pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide, soot, and ash. These pollutants however, also change the properties of clouds.
Health and environmental effects
The pollutants that lead to global dimming also lead to various human and environmental problems, such as smog, respiratory problems, and acid rain.The impacts of global dimming itself, however, can be devastating.