Piney Smell Fights Global Warming


Love that piney smell! Even if you aren't a confessed tree hugger, you know you like it. Makes you feel so frisky! But all frisk aside, new research has indicated that the fantastic scent of pine and spruce trees, caused by particles called monoterpenes, has some powerful properties that fight global warming. As much as we love trees, there's a great deal we don't know about them, including the fact that they may produce significant amounts of methane. This week, the Guardian reported on a study from the Air Pollution Laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden that shows the piney-smelling particles released by trees actually bouncing solar energy back into space, helping to cool the planet. Researchers conducting the study report that "[t]he fresh fragrance released by trees in northern pine forests is a significant component in slowing climate change " Calculating for the cooling properties of tree particles is also a missing piece that will help scientists balance the books on computer climate prediction models. Scientists warn, however, that we can't count on trees to save us. Hans-Christen Hansson of the Air Pollution Laboratory: "Particles have a lifetime of up to a week while the greenhouse gases have a lifetime of years to decades. So you can't really use particles in some desperate mitigation technique to stop climate change. I don't think that's the way to stop the greenhouse gas effect." :: Guardian Unlimited