15 January 2013

Black carbon larger cause of climate change than previously assessed

Black carbon is the second largest man-made contributor to global warming and its influence on climate has been greatly underestimated, according to the first quantitative and comprehensive analysis of this issue.



IIASA researcher Zbigniew Klimont contributed estimates, from IIASA’s GAINS model, of emissions and mitigation potentials of black carbon and co-emitted species to the study, which was a collaborative effort between international researchers. 

The landmark study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres today says the direct influence of black carbon, or soot, on warming the climate could be about twice previous estimates.  Accounting for all of the ways it can affect climate, black carbon is believed to have a warming effect of about 1.1 Watts per square meter (W/m2), approximately two thirds of the effect of the largest man made contributor to global warming, carbon dioxide.

For more information on the study, read the press release from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, or read the paper online at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgrd.50171/abstract.

IIASA research using the GAINS model provides key data on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as mitigation measures and their costs, at global and regional scales. 


Bond, et. al., 2013. Bounding the role of black carbon in the climate system: A scientific assessment,”  Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgrd.50171/abstract

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Last edited: 12 December 2013


Zbigniew Klimont

Research Group Leader and Principal Research Scholar Pollution Management Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 547



International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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