FRISCO — As frackers desperately try to pump every last bit of gas from the ground before the global warming clock runs out, scientists warn that methane emissions could push Earth over a climate tipping point in just a few years.
Smoke particles can cool ground temperatures and suppress cloud formation
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with resulting in huge on-the-ground disturbance, wildfires also have an impact in the atmosphere. With wildfires expected to increase in a warming world, U.S. Forest Service researchers recently set out to document what some of those effects might be with a synthesis of recent research, focusing on the effect of emissions from wildfires on long-term atmospheric conditions.
“While research has historically focused on fire-weather interactions, there is increasing attention paid to fire-climate interactions,” said Yongqiang Liu, lead author and team leader with the SRS Center for Forest Disturbance Science. “Weather, the day-to-day state of the atmosphere in a region, influences individual fires within a fire season. In contrast, when we talk about fire climate, we’re looking at the statistics of weather over a certain period. Fire climate sets atmospheric conditions for fire activity in longer time frames and larger geographic scales,” Liu said.
Key findings included:
The radiative forcing of smoke particles can generate significant regional climate effects, leading to lower temperatures at the ground surface.
Smoke particles mostly suppress cloud formation and precipitation. Fire events could lead to more droughts.
Doubling of CO2 likely to result in 2.2 to 4.8 degrees Celsius warming
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Climate scientists know that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane trap heat in the atmosphere, but there’s still some uncertainty about how the overall system responds to varying levels of those gases.
By studying the paleoclimatic record, researchers have been able to measure relationships between past greenhouse gas increases and temperatures to some degree, and new research is helping them evaluate past climate sensitivity data to help improve comparison with estimates of long-term climate projections developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Increased concentrations add up to 30 percent more heating effect in just the past 20 years
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With heat-trapping greenhouse gases rising to a new record high in 2011, the World Meteorological Organization calculated that there has been a 30 percent increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – just in the past 20 years.
In its annual greenhouse gas bulletin, the WMO estimated that humankind has released about 375 billion tons of carbon the atmosphere as CO2 since the start of the industrial era in 1750. About half of this carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial biosphere. Continue reading “Climate: Greenhouse gases hit new record high in 2011”→
How much extra energy are we putting in the atmosphere through emission of greenhouse gases? One Australian researcher put it into context: “The radiative forcing of the CO2 we have already put in the atmosphere in the last century is … the equivalent in energy terms to almost half a billion Hiroshima bombs each year.”
With more energy radiating down on the planet rather than back up into space, the planet continues to heat up. As the atmosphere warms, it is able to hold more water vapor — thus strengthening the global hydrological cycle.
With all that extra energy, more water is pulled out of the subtropic regions and moved toward higher-precipitation areas in the subpolar regions, resulting in stronger droughts and stronger storms. Or, as the video above explains, how the wet gets wetter and the dry gets drier.