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Climate change and sulfur dioxide

O'Brien, Taylor (2017) Climate change and sulfur dioxide. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration the past 20 years have included 10 of the warmest years since the recording of annual global temperature began. This past year of 2016 has been recorded as the warmest temperature yet. Anthropogenic emissions have been scientifically implicated to be a predominant factor in this warming. In response to concerns of overall human emissions, global efforts have been implemented to reduce and limit air pollution. Universal acts, like the Paris Agreement, are examples of such responses, which created a collective action of nations to address climate change. Strategies to regulate and limit air pollution are proving to be effective along with the utilization of alternative fuel sources in combating global warming. Sulfur dioxide is a hazardous air pollutant which is stringently regulated. This pollutant is found in many exhaust fumes of fossil fuel energy production and natural occurring phenomena like volcanoes. Over the past decades this particular pollutant has decreased its overall emission significantly as new fuel sources are discovered and cleaner burning processes are developed. While the decrease of this air pollutant is significant for immediate public health and the environment, this decline can affect climate patterns. Sulfur dioxide reacts with other atmospheric compounds to form sulfate aerosols. These aerosols have an impact on regional and global climate. The physical properties allow for the reflection of solar radiation and the facilitation of cloud formation. Global dimming is a concept where aerosol coverage counterbalances the warming effects of greenhouse gases, ultimately slowing surface warming potential. Would a diminishing coverage of aerosol accelerate global warming? Reducing air pollution is crucial to preserving and protecting public health, but can this effort consequently effect the future of global warming?


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
O'Brien, Taylortao33@pitt.edutao33
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPearce, Lindalip10@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBandik, Georgebandik@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 8 June 2017
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 35
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2017 17:35
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2017 17:35


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