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NOAA Joins International Effort to Track Black Carbon in the Arctic

Logo NOAAThe Arctic climate is changing faster than some scientists expected. A continuing decline in summer sea ice, warmer temperatures, changes in vegetation, and other indicators signal polar changes that affect the rest of the globe. Black Carbon is contributing to this warming. Scientists say much of the black carbon in the Arctic comes from biomass and fossil fuel burning in North America and Eurasia.

“Carbon is dark in color and absorbs solar radiation, much like wearing a black shirt on a sunny day. If you want to be cooler, you would wear a light-colored shirt that would reflect the sun’s warmth,” said Tim Bates, a research chemist at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle and co-lead of the U.S. component of the study.

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