"Flaring of waste natural gas from industrial oil fields in the Northern Hemisphere is a potential source of significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide and black carbon to the Arctic, according to a new NASA study.
Nitrogen dioxide is a well-known air pollutant and health hazard, and black carbon, also known as soot, is an agent of global warming that is critical for understanding climate change effects in the Arctic. In addition to absorbing sunlight while aloft, which heats the air, black carbon darkens white snow when it settles on the surface, accelerating snowmelt. The amount of black carbon that reaches the Arctic is currently poorly estimated.
Scientists hadn't found all the sources of black carbon that ends up in the Arctic, a puzzle that was brought to the Goddard group by Joshua Fu, an atmospheric modeler at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The atmospheric modeling community, which runs computer simulations of Earth's atmosphere, uses emission inventories reported by governments or compiled by researchers as a starting point for simulating pollution trajectories throughout the atmosphere. However, their results generally underestimated the amount of black carbon reaching the Arctic when compared to direct field measurements, Fu said".
(Posted by +rasha kamel