Global dimming is the opposite of global warming. It is defined as the reduced amounts of solar radiation reaching the surface of the Earth. When we put it that way, by right, global dimming should be seen as a good thing to us since it counters the warming effects. However, upon more research, this seemingly ‘helpful’ environmental phenomenon has actually caused devastating effects on both the living and the environment.

How is this so? Global dimming is caused mainly by the by-products of burning fossil fuels, and an example would be aerosols. They reflect sunlight away from the Earth’s surface and hence decreases the amount of solar radiation entering, producing a cooling effect. This effect has caused the water in the northern hemisphere to turn colder, leading to a slower evaporation rate and lesser water droplet generation. With that, there would thence be many fewer occasions of rainfall, resulting in droughts and famines. An example would be the situation in Sahel in sub-Saharan Africa during the 1970s where thousands of people suffered during the drought due to global dimming (Kukreja, 2015).

Today, the concern of this environmental issue falls more on Asian monsoons where half of the world’s annual rainfall derive from. The decrease in solar radiation can also have a huge impact on the productivity of plants.

Since global dimming counteracts the effects of global warming, actions that drastically impact any one of them such that there is an imbalance could distort global temperatures which would then spell disaster. Hence, attempts to maintain, or restore, the harmony between global dimming and warming should aim to reduce emissions of both greenhouse gases as well as particulate matter.

Kukreja, R. (2015). What is Global Dimming?. Conserve Energy Future. Retrieved 18 January 2015, from