Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bringing Heat

Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere by absorbing it. Without greenhouse gases, the mean temperature on Earth's surface would be 0°F rather than 59°F.

Over a century of mean temperature data plotted over time demonstrates the increasing rate of the rise.
The pace of change is immediately obvious, especially over the past few decades.
Ed Hawkins
by Ed Hawkins, National Centre for Atmospheric Science

Humans have spiked a 40% increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration since 1750, the approximate outset of the industrial revolution.

Water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons are the greenhouse gases in order of abundance in the atmosphere. The anthropogenic spike in greenhouse gases comes primarily from human activities (power generation, transportation, and industrial agriculture).
“Thus human beings are now carrying out a large scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor be reproduced in the future. Within a few centuries we are returning to the atmosphere and oceans the concentrated organic carbon stored in sedimentary rocks over hundreds of millions of years.”
Bill McKibben