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Difference between Global Warming and Global Dimming

Difference between Global Warming and Global Dimming

The terms global warming and global dimming are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different phenomena. Global warming is the name given to the gradual increase in average temperatures on Earth, while global dimming refers to a decrease in sunlight reaching the planet’s surface. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at these two processes and explore the differences between them.

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the gradual increase of the Earth’s average surface temperature. The main component of global warming is the increased emission of greenhouse gases. These gases form a “blanket” around Earth that traps energy from the sun. This trapped energy makes the Earth’s atmosphere warm and disturbs the Earth’s climate. It is not just the Earth’s temperature that we must worry about in the near future.

Climate change caused by global warming has the potential to cause various types of disasters, including hurricanes, famine, drought, and displacement of species. Global warming has already begun to cause these problems, and they are only expected to get worse as the Earth continues to warm. To prevent further damage, it is essential that we take action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

What is Global Dimming?

Global dimming is the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct radiative forcing. Global dimming also refers to the observed decrease in diffuse fractional cloudiness. The main cause of global dimming is the increased use of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution.

  • Burning coal and oil releases aerosols such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and soot into the atmosphere. These pollutants mix with water vapor and sunlight to form clouds. The polluted clouds reflect more sunlight back into space, resulting in less sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface.
  • In addition, aerosols can also act as condensation nuclei around which water droplets form, making clouds more reflective. As a result, global dimming has caused a significant reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface, leading to cooler temperatures and reduced evaporation rates.
  • While global dimming has had some beneficial effects, such as reducing heat waves and droughts, it is also thought to be a contributing factor to global warming. Global dimming was first discovered in the early 1960s by Gerald Stanhill, who observed that there was a decrease in sunlight at various locations around the world. Since then, global dimming has been extensively studied and its effects have been documented in

Difference between Global Warming and Global Dimming

Global warming and global dimming are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different phenomenon.

  • Global warming is the long-term increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature. On the other hand, global dimming is the short-term reduction in the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface.
  • Global dimming is caused by pollutants such as aeros and black carbon that reflect sunlight back into space. These pollutants can come from a variety of sources, including power plants, cars, and residential heating and cooking. Global dimming was first observed in the early 20th century, but its effects have become more pronounced in recent years due to the increase in man-made pollution.
  • Global warming, on the other hand, is caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that trap heat within the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere through a variety of human activities, including burning fossil fuels and deforestation. The effects of global warming are already being felt across the globe, with an increase in extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

While global dimming can have a temporary cooling effect, it is no match for the long-term warming effects of greenhouse gases.


Although the two share a common name, global warming and global dimming are very different phenomena. It is important to understand the difference between them so that we can create an accurate plan to combat climate change.

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