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Black Carbon and its Impact on the Environment

 Black Carbon and its Impact on the Environment

Black Carbon

  • It refers to the solid, black colour particles produced from incomplete combustion. It is also called soot.
  • Black carbon particles absorb sunlight and thus increase the temperature of the earth.
  • However, these particles remain only for a few weeks in the atmosphere.
  • According to an estimate, about 25-35% of black carbon in the world is emitted by India and China because of large-scale reliance on coal and extensive use of cow dung and wood as fuels in homes.
  • ‘Project Surya’ has been launched by the Government of India to reduce black carbon through promotion of solar plants, lamps, biogas plants and efficient stoves.

Factors Affecting Climate Change 

  • There are many factors which either magnify or reduce the effects of the earth’s climate.
  • Factors such as greenhouse gases increase the temperature of earth, while some aerosols and volcanic eruptions reduce the temperature of the earth.
  • For example, large volcanic eruptions can eject enough ash into the atmosphere to reduce the temperature for a year or more until the sulphur particles settle on the ground.
  • These sulphur particles reflect sunlight from the earth.                        Black Carbon and its Impact on the Environment
  • Estimation of the effect of each gas on climate change depends on the following three factors:

Concentration of gas in the atmosphere:

  • Concentration of gas in the atmosphere is described in terms of parts per million (ppm). For example, at present, there are nearly 420 parts of carbon per million.
  • Before Industrial Revolution, concentration of carbon was only 270 ppm.
  • If carbon concentration increases beyond 450 ppm, then it is believed that Earth would face catastrophic impacts.

Lifespan of gas in the atmosphere:

  • Life span in the atmosphere varies with the nature of the gas.
  • Lifespan of CO2 ranges from 50-200 years; methane has a life span of 12 years; nitrous oxide has a life span of 120 years and fluorinated gas has a life span of even more than 1000 years.                  Black Carbon and its Impact on the Environment

Global warming potential of a gas:

  • The same quantity of methane has 21 times, nitrous oxide has 310 times and fluorinated gases have 140 to 23,900 times global warming potential as that of carbon dioxide.

ALSO READ : https://www.brainyias.com/nitrous-oxide-greenhouse-gas-source/

Environment & Biodiversity

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