Mitigation science

On Global Warming |  On Global Dimming | On Atmospheric Brown Clouds | Mitigation of Global Warming

I have been involved in climate research for many years. During this time, my research has revealed much about climate change and what some of the culprits are. It seemed each project brought with it more discouraging findings.

My work in climate mitigation started because after decades of delivering this bad news about climate change, I felt it was time to start making an impact to slow down or reverse the trends I had been observing. In 2006, at the United Nations, I gave a passionate speech about climate change to a group of high school students. A shy African girl asked “What are you personally doing about this problem?” I had nothing to say.

Her words prompted me to start being actively involved in the problem of climate change. Project Surya was launched as a mitigation effort to help mitigate the effect of black carbon from biomass fuel cooking in developing nations. Its co-benefits will also improve health from reducing smoke inhalation, provide an economic benefit through linkages with local production and carbon credits, and provide a social benefit by freeing time spent gathering biomass fuels. Surya is an international project sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Programme.


• Op Ed

• The Other Climate Changers: Why Black Carbon and Ozone Also Matter – Foreign Affairs

• Project Surya

• Getting Rid of Black Carbon- A Neglected but Effective Near-Term Climate Mitigation AvenueGeorgetown Journal of International Affairs

• UNEP Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone

• Mountain Glaciers. A report by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, April 2011


Global Warming
V. Ramanathan, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Bulletin, Spring 2006

Experimenting with Earth
V. Ramanathan and Tim P. Barnett, The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2003.

Tropical and Global Scale Interactions Among Water Vapor, Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect, and Surface Temperature
Inamdar, A. and V. Ramanathan, J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres, 103(D24): 32,177-32,194, 1998.

Trace Gas Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming, Underlying Principles and Outstanding Issues
V. Ramanathan, Ambio, 27(3): 187-197, 1998

Ramanathan, V. et al., 1985: “Trace Gas Effects on Climate,” in Atmospheric Ozone 1985: assessment of our understanding of the processes controlling its present distribution and change, WMO Report No. 16. pp. 821-893.

The Greenhouse Theory of Climate Change: A Test by An Inadvertent Global Experiment
V. Ramanathan,  Science, 240: 293-299, 1988

Detecting Climate Change Due to Increasing CO2 in the Atmosphere
Madden, R.A. and V. Ramanathan, Science, 209: 763-768, 1980.

Greenhouse Effect Due to Chlorofluorocarbons: Climatic Implications
V. Ramanathan, Science, 190: 50-52, 1975.

Ramanathan, V. and A. M. Vogelmann, 1997: “Greenhouse Effect, Atmospheric Solar Absorption and the Earth’s Radiation Budget: From the Arrhenius-Langley Era to the 1990s,” in The Legacy of Svante Arrhenius Understanding the Greenhouse Effect. H. Rodhe and R. Charlson, Eds. (Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm University, 1997), pp. 85-103.

Raval, A. and V. Ramanathan, 1989: Observational Determination of the Greenhouse Effect. Nature, 342: 758-761.

Ramanathan, V., R. D. Cess, E. F. Harrison, P. Minnis, B. R. Barkstrom, E. Ahmad, and D. Hartmann, 1989: Cloud-Radiative Forcing and Climate: Results from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment. Science, 243: 57-63.

Ramanathan, V., L. Callis, R. Cess, J. Hansen, I. Isaksen, W. Kuhn, A. Lacis, F. Luther, J. Mahlman, R. Reck and M. Schlesinger, 1987: Climate-Chemical Interactions and Effects of Changing Atmospheric Trace Gases. Rev. of Geophy., 25: 1441-1482.

Ramanathan, V., R. J. Cicerone, H. B. Singh and J. T. Kiehl, 1985: Trace Gas Trends and Their Potential Role in Climate Change. J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres, 90: 5547-5566.

Ramanathan, V., 1981: The Role of Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions in the CO2-Climate Problems. J. Atmos. Sci., 38: 918-930.

Fishman, J., V. Ramanathan, P. J. Crutzen and S. C. Liu, 1980: Tropospheric Ozone and Climate. Nature, 282: 818-820.

Donner, L. and V. Ramanathan, 1980: Methane and Nitrous Oxide: Their Effects on the Terrestrial Climate. J. Atmos. Sci., 37: 119-124.

Ramanathan, V., M. S. Lian and R. D. Cess, 1979: Increased Atmospheric CO2: Zonal and Seasonal Estimates of the Effect on the Radiation Energy Balance and Surface Temperature. J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres, 84: 4949-4958.

Augustsson, T. and V. Ramanathan, 1977: A Radiative-Convective Model Study of the CO2-Climate Problem. J. Atmos. Sci., 34: 448-451.

Ramanathan,V., L. B. Callis and R. E. Boughner, 1976: Sensitivity of Surface Temperature and Atmospheric Temperature to Perturbations in Stratospheric Concentration of Ozone and Nitrogen Dioxide. J. Atmos. Sci., 33: 1092-1112.


Overview of Global Dimming and Brightening – observations, causes, consequences, and hypotheses
V. Ramanathan, International Workshop on Global Dimming and Brightening opening talk, Ein Gedi, Israel Feb. 10-14, 2008.

Ramanathan, V., Role of Black Carbon in Global and Regional Climate Change, Testimonial to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, October 18, 2007.

Global Dimming by Air Pollution and Global Warming by Greenhouse Gases: global and regional perspectives
V. Ramanathan, ICNAA Plenary lecture, Galway, Ireland Aug. 13-17, 2007

Bjerknes Lecture: Global Dimming and its Masking Effect on Global Warming
V. Ramanathan (2006), Eos Trans. AGU, 87(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract A23D-01

Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Hemispherical and regional variations in long range transport, absorption, and radiative forcing. Ramanathan, V., F. Li, M.V. Ramana, P.S. Praveen, D. Kim, C.E. Corrigan, H. Nguyen (2007). J. Geophys. Res., 112, D22S21, doi:10.1029/2006JD008124.

Ramanathan, V., et al., 2001: The Indian Ocean Experiment: An Integrated Assessment of the Climate Forcing and Effects of the Great Indo-Asian Haze. J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres,106, (D 22), 28,371-28,399


Ramanathan, V., M. Agrawal, H. Akimoto, M. Auffhammer, S. Devotta, L. Emberson, S.I. Hasnain, M. Iyngararasan, A. Jayaraman, M. Lawrence, T. Nakajima, T. Oki, H. Rodhe, M. Ruchirawat, S.K. Tan, J. Vincent, J.Y. Wang, D. Yang, Y.H. Zhang, H. Autrup, L. Barregard, P. Bonasoni, M. Brauer, B. Brunekreef, G. Carmichael, C.E. Chung, J. Dahe, Y. Feng, S. Fuzzi, T. Gordon, A.K. Gosain, N. Htun, J. Kim, S. Mourato, L. Naeher, P. Navasumrit, B. Ostro, T. Panwar, M.R. Rahman, M.V. Ramana, M. Rupakheti, D. Settachan, A.K. Singh, G. St. Helen, P.V. Tan, P.H. Viet, J. Yinlong, S.C. Yoon, W.C. Chang, X. Wang, J. Zelikoff and A. Zhu (2008), Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Regional Assessment Report with Focus on Asiapublished by the United Nations Environment Program, Nairobi, Kenya, pp. 1-360

Atmospheric Brown Clouds” V. Ramanathan and P. J. Crutzen, Atmospheric Environment, 37, 4033-4035, 2003.

Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Long Range Transport and Climate Impacts,” V. Ramanathan and M. V. Ramana, EM, December 2003, 28-33.

Ramanathan, V., 2006: “Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Health, Climate and Agriculture Impacts” in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Scripta Varia 106 Interactions Between Global Change and Human Health, (Pontifica Academia Scientiarvm 2006), pp. 47-60.

Ramanathan V., M.V. Ramana, G. Roberts, D. Kim, C.E. Corrigan, C.E. Chung & D. Winker (2007). Warming trends in Asia amplified by brown cloud solar absorption. Nature, 448, 575-578 doi:10.1038/nature06019.

Ramanathan, V., F. Li, M.V. Ramana, P.S. Praveen, D. Kim, C.E. Corrigan, H. Nguyen (2007). Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Hemispherical and regional variations in long range transport, absorption, and radiative forcingJ. Geophys. Res., 112, D22S21, doi:10.1029/2006JD008124.

Hadley, O.L., V. Ramanathan, G.R. Carmichael, Y. Tang, G.C. Roberts, and G.S. Mauger (2007). Trans-Pacific transport of black carbon and fine aerosols (D < 2.5µm) into North America. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D05309, doi:10.1029/2006JD007632.

Auffhammer, M., V. Ramanathan, and J. R. Vincent, 2006: Integrated model shows that atmospheric brown clouds and greenhouse gases have reduced rice harvests in IndiaPNAS, 10.1073/pnas.0609584104.

Chung, C.E., V. Ramanathan, D. Kim, and I. A. Podgorny, 2005: Global Anthropogenic Aerosol Direct Forcing Derived from Satellite and Ground-Based ObservationsJ. Geophys. Res., 110, D24207, doi:10.1029/2005JD006356.

Ramanathan, V., C. Chung, D. Kim, T. Bettge, L. Buja, J. T. Kiehl, W. M. Washington, Q. Fu, D. R. Sikka, and M. Wild, 2005: Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Impacts on South Asian Climate and Hydrological CyclePNAS, Vol. 102, No. 15, 5326-5333.

Crutzen, P.J. and V. Ramanathan, 2003: The Parasol Effect in ClimateScience, 302, 1679-1681.

Ramanathan, V. and M. V. Ramana, 2003: Atmospheric Brown Clouds: Long Range Transport and Climate Impacts. EM, December 2003, 28-33.

Ramanathan, V. and P. J. Crutzen, 2003: New Directions: Atmospheric Brown “Clouds”Atmospheric Environment, 37, 4033-4035.

UNEP and C4, 2002: The Asian Brown Cloud: Climate and Other Environmental Impacts. UNEP, Nairobi .

Ramanathan, V., P. J. Crutzen, J. T. Kiehl and D. Rosenfeld, 2001: Aerosols, Climate, and The Hydrological Cycle. Science, 294, 2119-2124.

Ramanathan, V., et al., 2001: The Indian Ocean Experiment: An Integrated Assessment of the Climate Forcing and Effects of the Great Indo-Asian Haze. J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres,106, (D 22), 28371-28399.

Satheesh, S.K. and V. Ramanathan, 2000: Large Differences in Tropical Aerosol Forcing at the Top of the Atmosphere and Earth’s surface. Nature, 405: 60-63.

Meywerk, J. and V. Ramanathan, 1999: Observations of the Spectral Clear-Sky Aerosol Forcing over the Tropical Indian Ocean. J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres, 104(D20): 24359-24370.

Jayaraman, A., D. Lubin, S. Ramachandran, V. Ramanathan, E. Woodbridge, W.D. Collins and K.S. Zalpuri, 1998: Direct Observations of Aerosol Radiative Forcing over the Tropical Indian Ocean During the January-February 1996 Pre-INDOEX Cruise. J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres, 103(D12): 13827-13836.


Strategies for containing climate change below unmanageable levels: Beyond Copenhagen, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, July 20, 2010. Note: the video for slide 38 can be seen here.

Ramanathan, V. and Xu, Y. (2010). The Copenhagen Accord for limiting global warming: Criteria, constraints, and available avenues.Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 107 (18) 8055-8062

Ramanathan, V. and Feng, Y. (2009) Air pollution, greenhouse gases and climate change: global and regional perspectivesAtmospheric Environment, 43, 37-50

Ramanathan, V., and Y. Feng (2008). On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: Formidable challenges ahead. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 105, 14245-14250

Ramanathan, V., I.H. Rehman, and N. Ramanathan. (2010), Project Surya ProspectusUniversity of California, San Diego, 14 pp

Ramanathan, V. and Balakrishnan, K. Surya White Paper, University of California, San Diego. March 2007