Cleaner European Air May Be One Cause of Continent’s Warming

A significant improvement in Europe’s air quality over the past 30 years may be responsible for at least half of the one degree C warming the continent has experienced since 1980, according to a study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. A drastic reduction in pollution and aerosols — up to 60 percent in the past three decades — has allowed more of the sun’s rays to strike the continent, making it warmer, according to the study by scientists at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Switzerland. The researchers believe that their study, conducted at six locations in northern Europe, may help explain why the continent’s recent warming has been higher than climate models had projected.