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Black Carbon - A Silent Contributor to Climate Change

, Siddharth Shankar Bhatt

Abstract: Black carbon is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil-fuels, wood and other fuels. Complete combustion would turn all the carbon in the fuel into carbon dioxide, but combustion is never complete, and CO2, CO, volatile organic compounds, organic compounds, and black carbon particles are formed in the process. It contributes to warming by converting incoming solar radiation to heat. When deposited on ice and snow, BC and co-emitted particles reduce surface albedo thereby melting the glaciers. The complex mixture of particulate matter resulting from incomplete combustion is referred as soot. When suspended in the atmosphere, black carbon contributes to warming by converting incoming solar radiations to heat. It also influences cloud formation and impacts regional circulation and rainfall pattern. The Artic and the glaciated regions such as Himalayas are particularly vulnerable to melting as a result. The present paper aims to review the work done on black carbon and its mitigation measure.
Keywords: wood / combustion / fuels / compounds / black carbon / rainfall / albedo / incomplete / converting

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