Climate models suggest that the role of carbon dioxide in climate change is exaggerated

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Climate models suggest that the role of carbon dioxide in climate change is exaggerated
Climate models suggest that the role of carbon dioxide in climate change is exaggerated

In the courtyard of the XXI century - spacecraft ply the surface of Mars; many dangerous diseases have been defeated; For the first time in history, life expectancy has reached its maximum, and technological development has outstripped the wildest assumptions of science fiction writers. It seems that in the future we are waiting for a series of even more amazing discoveries. But haven't we missed something important in this whole celebration of life? Something we didn't notice while whiling away the evenings watching TV series? If you ask scientists, the answer, alas, will be disappointing - in 2019, more than 11 thousand researchers from all over the world signed a statement in which they warned humanity about the dangers of climate change, right up to the extinction of our civilization. It is difficult to argue with them - the huge amount of data collected over the past decades makes a harsh verdict - the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, along with the growth of the planet's population, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, can ultimately lead to dire consequences. Rapid human-induced climate change is truly threatening our future. But are greenhouse gases really to blame? Climate models may have overestimated the impact of greenhouse gases on climate, according to a new study.

Climate change - what you need to know?

Climate change is often viewed as predicted by sophisticated computer models. But the scientific basis for climate change is much broader, and the models are really only one part of it (and, however, they are surprisingly accurate).

For more than a century, scientists have understood the basic physics behind why greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide cause warming. These gases make up only a small fraction of the atmosphere, but have a huge impact on the Earth's climate, capturing some of the planet's heat before it goes into space. This greenhouse effect is important: this is why a planet so far from the Sun has liquid water and life.

More on the subject: Climate change could fry cities by 2100

However, during the Industrial Revolution, people started burning coal and other fossil fuels for power plants, smelters and steam engines, which led to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Since then, human activities have warmed up the planet.

The map shows areas with cooler or warmer temperatures in 2020 compared to the mid-20th century.

We know this to be the case, thanks to the overwhelming amount of evidence that goes back to the very first temperature measurements made in weather stations and ships, dating back to the mid-1800s. Later, scientists began tracking surface temperatures from satellites and looking for clues about climate change in geological records. Together, these data suggest the same thing: the Earth is getting hotter.

Since 1880, the average global temperature on our planet has increased by 1.2 degrees Celsius, with the greatest changes occurring at the end of the twentieth century. The land has warmed up more than the sea surface, and extreme temperatures have also changed.

According to The New York Times, citing research, measurements collected over the past six decades by oceanographic expeditions and networks of floating instruments show that every layer of the ocean is warming up.And according to another study, between 1997 and 2015, the ocean absorbed as much heat as in the previous 130 years.

Climate change and greenhouse gases

A new study, recently published in the journal Science Advances, found that the atmosphere of the pre-industrial Southern Hemisphere had four times more soot than was thought. The findings suggest that climate models may have overestimated the impact of greenhouse gases on climate.

One of the biggest challenges in predicting the impacts of climate change is predicting how surface temperatures will rise in response to increased greenhouse gas emissions. While greenhouse gases trap heat and heat the planet's surface, aerosol particles from volcanoes, fires, and other forms of combustion have a cooling effect as they block sunlight or cover cloud cover.

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The world is getting hotter, but people don't seem to be in control anymore.

Understanding how these factors interact is key to understanding the impacts of climate change: while many current climate models rely on data on past levels of greenhouse gases, the same data on smoke aerosols before the industrial revolution was largely unknown until now. …

To obtain data on aerosol levels, the authors of the new study analyzed 14 ice cores taken from all over Antarctica, indicating the amount of smoke from fires in the Southern Hemisphere. Inside these cores, they measured the level of soot, a key constituent of smoke. The findings were unexpected - the ice cores contained four times more soot than expected. This led scientists to think about a much more fiery past of our planet than previously thought.

It is believed that the emission of carbon dioxide, methane, etc. into the atmosphere is the main driver of climate change.

After checking their results using computer simulations, the researchers also concluded that soot levels remained relatively constant from the beginning of the industrial era until the 20th century.

“The world is clearly warming up, but the key question is how fast this will happen as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The results of the research will help scientists in the future to refine their forecasts,”write the authors of the scientific work.

The findings also indicate that, until now, scientists have underestimated the cooling effect of smoke particles in the pre-industrial world. This, in turn, means that climate models may have overestimated the effect of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on climate change.

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