Wood Stoves Soot Seems to Be a Main Actor Global Warming

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Wood Stoves Soot Seems to Be a Main Actor Global Warming

Postby pm2.5mary » Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:43 pm

To Woodburner and the Hearth, Patio, Barbeque Industry:Your 10 good reasons to heat with wood do not appear to be fact based.
Here is but one of hundreds of scientific papers that refute your "no" global warming claims.

25th of October 2006, 08:40 GMT | Copyright (c) 2006 Softpedia | Contact:
Wood Stoves Soot Seems to Be a Main Actor in the Global Warming
Category: SOFTPEDIA NEWS :: Science

Field tests proved a double quantity than previously thought

By: Stefan Anitei, Science Editor
"Soot could have a negative impact on the atmosphere, particularly given the extensive use of biofuels in India. To diminish the impact on the environment, cleaner fuels - like liquid petroleum gas or kerosene - must be used, but these alternatives are more expensive and less accessible to poor people. "

New studies of soot produced by primitive cook stoves used in poor countries from South Asia, Latin America and Africa found it more harmful and with a much greater impact on global climate change than thought.

The soot quantity produced by “biofuels” (wood, agricultural waste and dried manure) seems to be much higher than scientists suspected. Soot particles form aerosols absorb light, increasing temperature in the atmosphere and decreasing it on land. These shifts could change rainfall patterns, bringing floods or intense droughts. This has impact on agriculture-based economies of the same developing countries. “Perhaps as many as 400 million of these stoves, fueled by wood or crop residue, are used daily for cooking and heating by more than 2 billion people worldwide,” said Tami Bond, Ph.D., and doctoral candidate Chris Roden of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

This team estimated that burning firewood - the main biofuel - produces 800,000 metric tons of soot worldwide each year, compared to 890,000 produced by diesel cars and trucks. “These two sources each account for about 10 % of the soot emitted into the world's atmosphere each year,” said Bond.

Field tests in Honduras showed that the traditional stoves produce two times more soot than measured in lab experiments. “These dark, sooty particles, which are darker than those produced by grassland or forest fires, have a climate warming effect because they absorb solar energy and heat the atmosphere,” said Roden.

Indian scientists
made laboratory tests to see how much soot 11 types of biofuel emit when burnt in traditional one-pot stoves, representing over 80 % of stove use in India. They believe that biofuels contribute to 42 % of India's total soot emissions, open burning (like forest fires) produced 33 % and use of fossil fuels produced 25 %.

Soot could have a negative impact on the atmosphere, particularly given the extensive use of biofuels in India. To diminish the impact on the environment, cleaner fuels - like liquid petroleum gas or kerosene - must be used, but these alternatives are more expensive and less accessible to poor people. "Above all, this not an attempt to blame the developing countries for polluting the world," said Kirk Smith, professor of environmental health sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, US.

"Developed nations are still responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas production. Tackling the problem of burning solid biofuels would be a win-win situation because of the combined health and environmental benefits that would result from reducing soot emissions,” says Smith.

Home contamination caused by cooking stoves affects the health of hundreds of millions of people, and killing more children annually than malaria or HIV/AIDS. It is a major cause of respiratory infections, pneumonia, lung cancer, eye infections and tuberculosis. "Emissions from wood cook stoves affect the health of users -- especially of women and children -- neighborhood air quality, and global climate. Reducing these emissions, through the use of cleaner burning stoves and fuels, should have far-reaching benefits," Bond said.

Techniques used in field tests in Honduras included sensors for measuring carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, particle soot absorption, particle color and concentration. "We expected field measurements to be different from lab measurements, and we suspected the amount of black carbon from these stoves would be higher than open burning, but we were surprised by how much," Roden said.

The problem is increased by the poor quality of the stoves. And the number of people using traditional stoves is increasing, being estimated to 2.6 billion by 2030. "Designing and distributing improved cook stoves may be an effective method of mitigating global climate change, and can improve the health of the users," Roden said.

"However, the cook stoves must be well designed and properly tested. They must be built with local traditions and practices in mind and must be easy to use, or they may become expensive doorstops."
25th of October 2006, 08:40 GMT | Copyright (c) 2006 Softpedia |
"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002)
Find more at http://burningissues.org
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what about global dimming?

Postby JackPine » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:31 am

So now some are saying the soot increases global warming.

What about the global dimming theory stating the fine particles in the air were actually helping REDUCE global warming because polluted air results in clouds with larger number of droplets than unpolluted clouds. This then makes those clouds more reflective. More of the sun's heat and energy is therefore reflected back into space. As the amount of fine particles emitted into the air have been reduced of the past years, analysis by the Baseline Surface Radiation Network has shown the planet has "brightened" by 4% over the past 10 years.

I guess both of the parties in this case need to get together and determine if soot increases global warming or reduces global warming.
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Postby FriendofAir » Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:13 pm

One thing that I know for sure is I am tired of cleaning off the soot and ash from my windowsills and patio furniture.

I do not imagine my neighbors would think too kindly of cleaning that part of their mess up. As for cleaning up my lungs, well, I don't think they care about that either!
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werd

Postby woodburner » Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:59 pm

pm2.5mary: Your article is specifically about "primitive cook stoves" in India and other poor countries. This is slightly different than the woodstove in my basement.

FriendofAir: What the hell are your neighbors burning and how close are they to you that you get soot buildup on your house?!? That's messed up and I've never heard of such a thing. Are you uphill from them? Are you extremely close to where their source of smoke is? I think you may be mistaken, but please elaborate.
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Postby FriendofAir » Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:44 pm

In coastal Southern California, most wood-burning is done for aesthetic reasons, primarily fireplaces and fire pits. Where do you think the soot and ash goes? If all the soot, smoke, and ash stayed on their property, I'd be good with it.

I wasn't referring to a thick "buildup" of soot and ash on my window sill's and patio furniture. Just like you get fine dust on a coffee table over a period of a few days or weeks, I also get larger and more black and gray pieces of crap on the side of the house that is exposed to my neighbors who have fireplaces and pits. It is really just a secondary nuisance to me, the worst part is being deprived of what is usually very fresh and crisp air.

It's bad enough that my nighttime air does not smell anywhere near as fresh as other parts of my neighborhood do (areas not downwind of a wood burner). Why do I have to put up with it and what right do they have to screw up my air to that effect?
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Postby BurningMan » Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:47 pm

Mystery Climate Mechanism May Counteract Global Warming

A new study by two physicists at the University of Rochester suggests there is a mechanism at work in the Earth’s atmosphere that may blunt the influence of global warming, and that this mechanism is not accounted for in the computer models scientists currently use to predict the future of the world’s temperature. The researchers, David H. Douglass and Robert S. Knox, professors of physics, plotted data from satellite measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere in the months and years following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The results, published in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters (and now online), show that global temperatures dropped more and rebounded to normal significantly faster than conventional climate models could have predicted.

“All we did was chart the data,” says Douglass. “We can be confident that our numbers are accurate because we aren’t using computer models and assumptions; we’re using simple observations. Despite whatever models might say, the analysis of the actual data says that the atmosphere rebounded from the Pinatubo volcano much faster than was expected.” In addition, the analysis of Douglass and Knox showed that the amount of the cooling measured could be explained only if there was some mechanism producing a kind of self-correcting feedback. In other words according to Douglass “ This feedback mechanism prevented the Earth from becoming much colder.”

In an attempt to approach the climate warming issue from a data-centered, rather than model-centered, way, Douglass and Knox looked for a global temperature-changing event that was well-recorded and did not occur at the same time as other events, such as El Nino or particularly high solar activity. They found their candidate in the Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, the largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century. The volcano forced millions of tons of debris into the Earth’s atmosphere, which blocked some of the Sun’s heat from reaching the Earth. The average temperature of the world dropped more than half a degree immediately following the eruption.

The Rochester team zeroed in on the years during and after the eruption, and extracted satellite temperature data to carefully plot the rate at which the atmosphere rebounded to its pre-volcanic temperature. Within a single year, the global temperature was already rebounding, and within roughly five years, it was back to normal.

When conventional atmosphere models were used to predict the rebound, they suggested that the rebound would have been much slower, taking many years to finally reach equilibrium.

“This return to normal temperatures is important because some climate models say that volcanoes affect the global climate for much longer, and that would mean they would have a cumulative effect, where each cools the atmosphere a little more,” says Douglass. “This is used as a justification to say that volcanoes are helping to mask the effects of human pollution. But if volcanoes’ effects last only a few years, then there is no accumulated cooling, and we can’t say they’re masking anything.”

Douglass and Knox point out that the mechanism producing the negative feedback may be the “Infrared Iris effect” due to clouds proposed by MIT professor Richard Lindzen. Clouds can both cool the Earth by reflecting light from the Sun, and warm the Earth by trapping heat between them and the ground. Since cloud formation is influenced by temperature and humidity changes in the atmosphere, the team suspects that clouds may form and dissipate in a way that tends to push the global temperatures back to steady normal.
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Postby FriendofAir » Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:03 pm

UncleRich wrote:
FriendofAir wrote:In coastal Southern California, most wood-burning is done for aesthetic reasons, primarily fireplaces and fire pits. Where do you think the soot and ash goes? If all the soot, smoke, and ash stayed on their property, I'd be good with it.

Are you sure it's soot from the neighbor, or the build up from your polluted air and just plain dust. Until you analyze the deposits, I'd blame the particulates from vehicles. I am sure you'd like to think it's the neighbor, but you are practicing bad science and accusing someone unjustly.


Vehicle pollution was my first guess. But after living here for 10 years the pattern is fairly consistent. Generally we have an onshore flow during the day but at night the air currents reverse. When I complained to a neighbor about the volume of smoke coming toward my house (my open windows didn't help) during summer nights they could not believe it was them as the prevailing movement is toward the east not the West. Fortunately, they witnessed that the air current does reverse at night and they did ultimately convert to gas logs.

It is always the windowsills and patio furniture on the eastern side of my house that collected the darker dust and soot. We live in a semi rural area with the closest freeway at least 10 miles away to the east. I still have several year-round fire pit and fireplace burners to my east (in Southern California no less), so while not scientific, my hunch is that the darker stuff is from the burners.

I'm sure most environmentally conscious folks would agree that in an air basein shared by millions of people this is a frivolous waste of resources. I'm also sure that there are those that believe it's their right to burn whatever the hell they want.
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Postby BurningMan » Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:30 am

FriendofAir wrote:I'm sure most environmentally conscious folks would agree that in an air basein shared by millions of people this is a frivolous waste of resources. I'm also sure that there are those that believe it's their right to burn whatever the hell they want.


Its a frivolous waste of resources no matter WHERE you are located...
I'm all for a ban on any type of residential burning that produces more than the 7.5 g/hr EPA certification level for wood stoves. That would mean no fireplace fires, no backyard bonfires, no fire pits, no wood boilers, no chimineas, etc. Campfires at legitimate campsites are about the only kind of open fire that should be allowed. The ban would be very easy to enforce - you bother anyone, they call the police, the police shut you down and fine you (which is pretty much how it works with excessive noise for example).

I drive by a tiny shack of a house on my way to work every morning and when its cold its always spewing huge clouds of smoke, sometimes when conditions are right, it blankets the 4 lane highway and actually causes me to cough and I have to put the windows down after I'm past it. Totally rediculous - but I can tell the guy is poor (hence living in a shack) and he gets his wood for free (hence all the trees around his shack are cut down) - not sure anything would help him outside of someone giving him a free certified woodstove or paying his heating bill. He probably can't afford to do anything else, so I wonder how a ban would impact someone like that. Still I don't really care if he has to move or get a job, what he's doing is wrong.
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Postby FriendofAir » Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:54 am

Typically, the nights here are calm with no wind. Just because there's no wind does not mean that smoke will only go up. It drifts from east to west as the nighttime air cools and flows downhill toward the ocean from the hills.

It is been my experience fireplaces emit smoke soot and ash, often you can see it. Let's assume you are correct and these larger embers and particles are coming from the freeway 10 miles away. What bothers me most is having to close my windows on warm summer nights so the smoke doesn't waft through my place. It's kind like someone smoking a cigarette outside my window and blowing smoke in my room.
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Postby begreen9 » Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:38 pm

Have to agree with you that burning a fireplace on a summer night in San Diego is a bit frivilous. Hope you can see that burning a clean stove to stay warm in Michigan when it's zero outside is anything but.
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Postby FriendofAir » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:08 pm

During the San Diego fires things didn't smell too good around here either. Fortunately these wildfires are not a daily occurrence.

One gentleman that I know of, whose kids are asthmatics, threatened to sue his neighbors. Over 10 fireplaces were be changed out to natural gas logs.

I thought about the same approach though I'm not fond of lawsuits. It's also difficult to identify exactly where the smoke coming from in my case.

The local authorities are not much help controlling fireplace smoke. It's ironic that many municipalities around here are beginning to ban smoking cigarettes outside yet there is no prohibition for fire pits (which probably put out thousands of times the amount of smoke as a cigarette).

Don't get me wrong, I used to love building fires and being mesmerized by them etc. I just don't think it's appropriate in populated areas.
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Postby MSG » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:17 pm

I agree, firepits dont belong in suburban neighborhoods. Im glad the city of boulder has banned them.
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Postby Neanderthal » Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:40 pm

Fire pits & such are also banned in Philadelphia. Fire dept ordinance.
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