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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(7), 674; doi:10.3390/rs9070674

Attributing Accelerated Summertime Warming in the Southeast United States to Recent Reductions in Aerosol Burden: Indications from Vertically-Resolved Observations

1
Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
2
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Chicago, IL 60603, USA
3
Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA 93943, USA
4
NASA-JCET, University of Maryland, Baltimore Country and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
5
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA
Current address: School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Chicago, IL, USA.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 April 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 1 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Atmospheric Pollution)
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Abstract

During the twentieth century, the southeast United States cooled, in direct contrast with widespread global and hemispheric warming. While the existing literature is divided on the cause of this so-called “warming hole,” anthropogenic aerosols have been hypothesized as playing a primary role in its occurrence. In this study, unique satellite-based observations of aerosol vertical profiles are combined with a one-dimensional radiative transfer model and surface temperature observations to diagnose how major reductions in summertime aerosol burden since 2001 have impacted surface temperatures in the southeast US. We show that a significant improvement in air quality likely contributed to the elimination of the warming hole and acceleration of the positive temperature trend observed in recent years. These reductions coincide with a new EPA rule that was implemented between 2006 and 2010 that revised the fine particulate matter standard downward. Similar to the southeast US in the twentieth century, other regions of the globe may experience masking of long-term warming due to greenhouse gases, especially those with particularly poor air quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: warming hole; air quality; southeast US; global warming; climate change; aerosols warming hole; air quality; southeast US; global warming; climate change; aerosols
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tosca, M.G.; Campbell, J.; Garay, M.; Lolli, S.; Seidel, F.C.; Marquis, J.; Kalashnikova, O. Attributing Accelerated Summertime Warming in the Southeast United States to Recent Reductions in Aerosol Burden: Indications from Vertically-Resolved Observations. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 674.

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