Brown clouds making Asian cities ‘dimmer’: UN report

Brown clouds making Asian cities ‘dimmer’: UN report

13 Nov 2008, 2000 hrs IST, PTI

BEIJING: Brown clouds of pollution are hanging over Asia, making “cities from Beijing to New Delhi” darker, melting glaciers in ranges like the

Himalayas faster and turning weather systems more extreme, the UN said on Thursday.

Formed as a result of burning of fossil fuels and biomass, the Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABCs), made of soot and other manmade particles, are more than three km-thick, said a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The layer that stretches from the Arabian Peninsula to China and the western Pacific Ocean, are in some cases and regions aggravating the impacts of greenhouse gas-induced climate change, a team of experts drawn from research centres in Asia, including China and India, said.

Globally, however, brown clouds may be countering or “masking” the effects of climate change by between 20 and up to 80 per cent, said the report.

The cloud is having impacts on air quality and agriculture in Asia increasing risks to human health and food production for three billion people.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UNEP, said: “I expect the Atmospheric Brown Cloud to be now firmly on the international community’s radar as a result of today’s report”.

The five regional hotspots for ABCs identified in the report includes the Indo-Gangetic plains in South Asia from the northwest and northeast regions of eastern Pakistan across India to Bangladesh and Myanmar, the UNEP said in a press statement.

New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai feature in the list of 13 megacities where ABCs are reducing the sunlight hitting the Earth’s surface, making the cities “darker or dimmer”.

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~ by sunil khemaney on November 17, 2008.

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