Black Carbon Pollution


BC particle EM
Black Carbon Particle

Chemically, black carbon or BC is a component of fine particulate matter PM ≤ 2.5 µm. It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass.

Black carbon causes human morbidity and premature mortality. Short-term and long-term exposures to PM2.5 are associated with a broad range of human health impacts, including respiratory and cardiovascular effects as well as premature death.

BC stays in the atmosphere for only several days to weeks, while carbon dioxide (CO2) has an atmospheric lifetime of more than 100 years but the impact of BC is much stronger because BC interacts with clouds, warms the Earth by absorbing heat and light in the atmosphere and by reducing albedo (reflectivity) when deposited on snow and ice.

  • 42% Open biomass burning (forest and savanna burning)
  • 18% Residential biofuel burned with traditional technologies
  • 14% Diesel engines for transportation (Probably lot more)
  • 10% Diesel engines for industrial use
  • 10% Industrial processes and power generation, usually from smaller boilers
  • 6% Residential coal burned with traditional technologies
  • Public health
  • Climate
  • Global warming

Reducing emissions of BC immediately! Thank you Volkswagen for all those years of contamination! (#diselgate)


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