Changing atmosphere: Data on GHG effect shows US should put climate talk back on track

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Published: July 23, 2018 3:21:02 AM

A recent study, the findings of which were published in Science, provides the surest evidence so far of the anthropogenic effect on seasonal cycles in the lower atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases from burning of hydrocarbon fuels getting accumulated in the lower atmosphere has led to long term increase in summer temperatures and larger annual temperature swings. (IE)

A recent study, the findings of which were published in Science, provides the surest evidence so far of the anthropogenic effect on seasonal cycles in the lower atmosphere. Greenhouse gases from burning of hydrocarbon fuels getting accumulated in the lower atmosphere has led to long term increase in summer temperatures and larger annual temperature swings in the northern hemisphere. While there have been many studies that have documented the evidence of how global warming is affecting seasonal phenomena on the ground, the new study that uses satellite data over 1979-2016 is the first that underscores the seasonal changes noticed in the atmosphere that are attributable to global warming. The study estimates that odds of natural climate phenomena leading to such seasonal variations of temperature is five is to one million.

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory used computer simulations of Earth’s climate over thousands of years in a anthropogenic emission scenario and a natural emission scenario. From the simulations, they were able to determine the exact impact of anthropogenic GHG emission on the lower atmosphere. Comparing the simulations against data from 1979 onward showed that natural climate variations couldn’t account for the drastic seasonal changes.

Given how global climate efforts received the worst setback since climate negotiations began when the US, the largest emitter of GHGs in history and currently one of the top emitters, withdrew from the Paris agreement, the new data should a spur rethink in global leadership. With Scott Pruitt’s exit from the US Environmental Protection Agency, US
policymakers have the opportunity to correct the US’s course on coal-based power.

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