Three carbon brothers control global warming in three ways. Let’s have a brief idea about the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY of carbon cycle.
Let’s talk about the good – Blue carbon!! Carbon dioxide is a very important greenhouse gas ,increase of which causes lots of damage to Earth’s atmosphere. Ocean and forest are the two major sinks of Carbon dioxide. Carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems are termed as blue carbon. Interestingly, mangrove capture Carbon dioxide at a much faster rate. In mangrove, due to the anaerobic conditions in soil (Most of the time remain submerged), the carbon trapped inside the soil and move to the deeper sea. Due to damages in mangrove ecosystem recent time, scientists estimate that as much as 1.02 billion tons of carbon dioxide are being released annually from degraded coastal ecosystems.
Now come to the bad carbon! Black carbon. Do you notice the black small particles comes out from automobile or burning? That is black carbon. Any combustion process can cause the emission of black carbon. Black carbon is bad as it absorbs strongly across the visible spectrum and causes warming effect of the atmosphere. When deposited on snow, it absorbs sunlight and melt the snow. So black carbon is majorly responsible in arctic temperature rise, glaciers melting in the Himalaya etc. As black carbon stays in the atmosphere for a very short period (~ 7days), reducing emissions of black carbon would have an immediate impact on temperature.
The ugly is Brown carbon! I call it ugly as it was believed that they have a cooling effect previously but now they seems to contribute a lot in warming. Light-absorbing organic particles from burning and other sources are called brown carbon. They have lots of sources like tar materials from smoldering fires or coal combustion, breakdown products from biomass burning, a mixture of organic compounds emitted from soil, and volatile organic compounds given off by vegetation. This light brownish particle absorbs strongly in the ultraviolet wavelength range. At first people consider it as the particle that scatter light (scattering is good as it cools earth) but now when their ability of absorbing is revealed , all the calculations have been messed up.