Current State Of The Issues Atmospheric turbidity

One of the first environmental issues to be considered in a global context was the rising level of atmospheric turbidity, which was the centre of concern in the mid-1970s. It linked air pollution with the cooling of the earth. Cooling had been taking place since the 1940s, and some writers saw the world descending into a new Ice Age. It was clear a decade later that the cooling had reversed, and atmospheric turbidity began to receive less attention. Evidence also began to appear indicating that increased atmospheric turbidity might actually contribute to atmospheric warming. Currently, it raises little concern among the general public, except under exceptional circumstances such as those created by the Kuwaiti oil fires and the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Both of these events initiated cooling and serve as a reminder that exceptional conditions capable of augmenting turbidity cannot be ignored. Although air pollution may be serious in specific areas, the human contribution to atmospheric turbidity is generally smaller, and the overall impact much less than that from natural sources—the cooling associated with the oil fires in Kuwait, for example, remained local, whereas that caused by Mount Pinatubo was global. Whether or not

Figure 8.1 Changing levels of interest in environmental problems, as reflected in coverage in The Times newspaper between 1967 and 1988

Figure 8.1 Changing levels of interest in environmental problems, as reflected in coverage in The Times newspaper between 1967 and 1988

Environment Problems
Source: From Park (1991)

that means that anthropogenic contributions to atmospheric turbidity are relatively unimportant remains to be seen, and scientists interested in the impact of human activities on the atmosphere continue to search for an answer.

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