Rising temperatures increase the concentration of aerosols in the atmosphere that cause air pollution. According to researchers from the University of California, Riverside in the US, while climate change is warming the ocean, it is warming the land faster, which is bad news for air quality all over the world. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that the contrast in warming between the continents and sea, called the land-sea warming contrast, drives up the aerosol concentration in the atmosphere.
Aerosols are tiny solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in the atmosphere. They can come from natural sources, like dust or wildfires, or human-made sources such as vehicle and industrial emissions. Aerosols affect the climate system, including disturbances to the water cycle, as well as human health.
They also cause smog and other kinds of air pollution that can lead to health problems for people, animals, and plants. “A robust response to an increase in greenhouse gases is that the land is going to warm faster than the ocean. This enhanced land warming is also associated with increased continental aridity,” said Robert Allen, an associate professor at UC Riverside.