Over the last 50 or so years, evaporation has been carefully monitored. For decades, nobody took much notice of the pan evaporation measurement. But in the 1990s in Europe, Israel, and North America, scientists spotted something that at the time was considered very strange: the rate of evaporation was falling although they had expected it to increase due to global warming. Same trend has been observed in China over a similar period. Decrease in solar irradiance is cited as the driving force.
However, unlike in other areas of the world, in China the decrease in solar irradiance was not always accompanied by an increase in cloud cover and precipitation. It is believed that aerosols may play a critical role in the decrease of solar irradiance in China. British Broadcasting Corporation Horizon producer believes that many climate scientists regard the pan evaporation data as the most convincing evidences of solar dimming. Pan evaporation experiments are easy to reproduce with low-cost equipment. There are many pans used for agriculture all over the world and in many instances the data have been collected for nearly a half century. However, pan evaporation depends on factors besides net radiation from the sun.
The other two major factors are vapor pressure deficit and wind speed. The ambient temperature turns out to be a negligible factor. The pan evaporation data corroborates the data gathered by radiometer and fills in the gaps in the data obtained using a unique type of meter. With adjustments to these factors, pan evaporation data has been compared to results of climate simulations.
The incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as diesel and wood are releasing black carbon into the air. Most of black carbon which is soot is an extremely small component of air pollution at land surface levels. This phenomenon has a significant heating effect on the atmosphere at altitudes above 2 kilometers (6,562 feet). It dims the surface of the ocean by absorbing solar radiation.
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