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Biomass, biomass, burning black

A study published in Science today (subscription) uses carbon-14 measurements to figure out where the black carbon drifting in the haze above South Asia is coming from. That’s a prerequisite to cleaning it up – which, as we’ve reported here, could be a major boon to a very vulnerable region. The light-absorbing compound not only causes cancer (among other ill health effects), but reportedly warms some places as much as greenhouse gases do. Because its lifespan in the atmosphere is far shorter than carbon dioxide’s, these impacts could potentially be reduced quickly – if we knew where to clamp down. 


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