Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Climate change

Aerosols reduce Arctic warming

Particles suspended in the atmosphere have decreased the amount of warming caused by greenhouse gases in the Arctic, but this could change as future air pollution is reduced.

Aerosols have a cooling effect by reflecting sunlight back into space. Mohammad Reza Najafi at the University of Victoria in Canada and his colleagues analysed nine climate models running from 1913 to 2012, comparing simulations with and without greenhouse gases, aerosols and other climate drivers. Their results show that aerosols have offset 1.3–2.2 °C of Arctic warming from greenhouse gases, limiting the observed warming to 1.2 °C. With aerosol emissions projected to drop in the coming decades, the rate of the warming is likely to increase.

The team says that its results underscore the reliability of the climate models, which simulate 8.3 °C of warming in the Arctic in a high-emissions scenario by the end of the century.

Nature Clim. Change (2015)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Aerosols reduce Arctic warming. Nature 518, 140–141 (2015).

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing