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 user 2005-03-08 at 10:38:00 am Views: 86
  • #10722

    Cooking linked to possible climate changes
    Burning wood, waste from home fires create black carbon
    , 2005

    major source of potentially climate-changing soot in the air over south Asia is
    home cooking fires, according to a team of Indian and American

    The burning of
    wood, agricultural waste and animal manure for cooking is the largest source of
    black carbon in the air in that region, according to the team led by C.
    Venkataraman of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

    “We therefore
    suggest that the control of these emissions through cleaner cooking
    technologies, in addition to reducing health risks to several hundred million
    users, could be of crucial importance to climate change mitigation in south
    Asia,” the researchers wrote in a paper appearing in Friday’s issue of the
    journal Science.

    The effect of soot
    in the air over the Indian Ocean is some 10 times that of the so-called
    greenhouse gases, according to the researchers.  The pollution causes the air to
    absorb more sunlight, warming the atmosphere and cooling the surface beneath. 
    Such changes can affect rainfall patterns, contributing to intensity of floods
    and droughts, the group said in their paper.

    Worldwide, most
    atmospheric scientists are concerned that increasing greenhouse gases, such as
    carbon dioxide, from industrial processes are trapping heat increasing the
    planet’s overall temperature in ways that could lead to climate

    The researchers
    conducted tests, burning various fuels used in home cooking in India to
    determine the type of soot produced, and measured soot in the air.

    They calculated
    that, of the black soot in the atmosphere, 42 percent originates from cooking
    fires, 25 percent from burning fossil fuels and 13 percent from open burning
    such as forest fires.

    The research also
    included scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles.  The work
    was funded by the Indian Space Research Organization; Center for Clouds,
    Chemistry and Science, University of California, San Diego; U.S. National
    Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; and U.S. Environmental Protection