What s cooking?

What s cooking? firewood and other biofuels, such as animal manure and agricultural waste, used for cooking in India could be a potential trigger for climate change in the region, according to a study by an Indo-us team. But some Indian scientists have questioned the methodology adopted to arrive at the conclusion.

The study team led by Chandra Venkataraman of the Indian Institute of Technology (iit), Mumbai, said the combustion of biofuels releases large quantities of black carbon (bc), or soot, which absorbs light leading to increased atmospheric temperatures and lowering of temperatures on land. These changes could have a major impact on rainfall patterns, potentially making floods and droughts more intense. The findings of the study carried out by scientists from iit and the University of California, usa appeared in the March 4 issue of Science (Vol 307, No 5714).

The scientists estimate the effect of particulate pollution, such as soot, is 10 times more in the region over the Indian Ocean as compared with the global average. To understand how much soot is generated by burning biofuels, they conducted laboratory tests with the one-pot stove traditionally used in rural Indian kitchens. They burnt 11 different biofuels

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