Every year, the 5th of June is observed as the World Environment Day to “encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment”. For 2019, the theme is ‘Air Pollution’, and the host country is China. On this occasion, Research Matters caught up with three leading scientists from the country that are actively pursuing research on different aspects of air pollution. The three researchers, Prof. A R Ravishankara, Prof. S K Satheesh and Prof. Navakanta Bhat shared their work and thoughts on the ‘burning’ problem of air pollution.
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Aerosols such as smoke or dust suspended in the lower layers of the atmosphere can either heat up the planet by trapping solar radiation, or cool it by reflecting sunlight back into space. Little is known, however, about how much aerosols that are present much higher up — above the clouds — contribute to this warming.