A recent study, conducted by climate researchers from multiple institutions in India, concluded that aeroplanes may be ejecting significant amounts of black carbon that may be depleting the ozone layer.
It is the first time that any group in the world has shown that black carbon from aircraft can go to the stratosphere and affect the ozone layer.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
• Given the shape and location of the black carbon particles, the scientists, including from the Indian Institute of Science and ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, believe that they could only derive from emissions from aviation fuel. The scientists went on to state that these particles pose a problem because they can linger long enough to provide a fertile ground for other chemical reactions that can deplete the ozone layer.
• The stratosphere is a stable region of the atmosphere. Due heat absorbing properties of the black carbon particles, they warm the surrounding air, become lighter and rise to greater heights by a process called ‘self lift’ and persist in the air.
• The sheer volume of air travel means that the black carbon count only continues to increase.
• As these particles strongly absorb solar and terrestrial radiation and heats up the atmosphere, they can also upset the monsoon system.
• If deposited on snow, these particles could also accelerate the heating of snow and quicken the melting of glaciers.
What is black carbon?
• Chemically, black carbon is a component of fine particulate matter.
• It consists of pure carbon in several linked forms.
• It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass, and is emitted in both anthropogenic and naturally occurring soot.
• It causes human morbidity and premature mortality.
• In climatology, black carbon is a climate forcing agent. It warms the Earth by absorbing sunlight and heating the atmosphere and by reducing albedo when deposited on snow and ice.
Source- The Hindu
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