Aerosol is a word most people associate with the bathroom, the kitchen or the garden shed: we tend to use it to mean a spray can, for deodorants, cleaners, weedkillers or whatever. But it has acquired this meaning by extension, and what it originally signified was the fine cloud of particles which come out of the spray can nozzle.
People who still use the word in this original sense are atmospheric scientists....
Are you listening children?
The Noughties turned out to be a peculiar period for climate change, for during them the climate issue grew and grew around the world, as the science and the risks became better understood and familiar to more and more people; and then suddenly it burst, like an overinflated balloon.
Since the failure of the Copenhagen climate conference in December 2009, the political will to deal with the global warming threat has become enfeebled, and the reason is that most ordinary people have come to consider it as irrelevant to them, as they can see no evidence of it. I mean, can you? After three sodden summers, and two freezing winters?
The great paradox of the Noughties was that, as the climate science became clearer, and the political engagement with it became greater, actual manifestations of warming seemed, to ordinary people anyway, to get fewer and fewer....despite all the kerfuffle about climate change, global temperatures have not noticeably risen during the last decade, and eventually, public concern has withered on the vine.
But, like Arnie, it'll be back. CO2 emissions are long-lived in the atmosphere, lasting for a hundred years; SO2 emissions are short-lived, and can fall out in weeks or months. As soon as the Chinese start fitting sulphur dioxide scrubbers to the chimneys of their coal-fired power stations, as they will, so that people in Chinese cities can ride their bikes without wearing masks, the aerosol will start to disappear, and the surging temperatures it has been holding back will start to make themselves felt.
Go outside. Look up into the sky. Ask yourself, where's all this global warming, then? The answer is, you're being shielded from it, at the moment, by Chinese sulphur.
It has not gone away. It is building up steadily, behind a Chinese pollution screen, and when that screen disappears, we are going to get a terrible surprise.
Boo! Now that was a surprise wasn't it! Don't cry because Nanny will look after you and don't worry you pretty little heads, just give teddy a big hug and we will make it all right.