What is Black Carbon?

What is Black Carbon?

  • It is the strongest, light-absorbing component of particulate matter (PM), formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass.
  • It is emitted directly into the atmosphere in the form of fine particles (PM2.5).
  • It can absorb a million times more energy than carbon dioxide (CO2).


Effects of BC

  • Aggravate breathing disorders
  • Upset the monsoon- BC can strongly absorb solar and terrestrial radiations and heats up the atmosphere that can upset the monsoon system
  • Quicken glacier melting- If BC is deposited on snow, it could accelerate the heating of snow and quicken the melting of glaciers
  • May be depleting the ozone layer – As BC lingers long enough, it can provide a fertile ground for other chemical reactions that can deplete the ozone layer


Rising count

  • The stratosphere is a stable region of the atmosphere.
  • BC particles absorb heat and they warm up the surrounding air, the air becomes lighter and rises to greater heights by a process called ‘self lift’ and BC persist in the air.
  • The sheer volume of air travel means that the black carbon count only continues to increase.
Section : Environment & Ecology