Global Warming

In: Science

Submitted By darkzone02
Words 796
Pages 4

Greenhouse Gases
The increase in greenhouse gases caused by human activity is often cited as one of the major causes of global warming. These greenhouse gases reabsorb heat reflected from the Earth's surface, thus trapping the heat in our atmosphere. This natural process is essential for life on Earth because it plays an important role in regulating the Earth's temperature. However, over the last several hundred years, humans have been artificially increasing the concentration of these gases, mainly carbon dioxide and methane in the Earth's atmosphere. These gases build up and prevent additional thermal radiation from leaving the Earth, thereby trapping excess heat.

Solar Variability & Global Warming

During the initial discovery period of global climate change, the magnitude of the influence of the Sun on Earth's climate was not well understood. Since the early 1990s, however, extensive research was put into determining what role, if any, the Sun has in global warming or climate change.

A recent review paper, put together by both solar and climate scientists, details these studies: Solar Influences on Climate. Their bottom line: though the Sun may play some small role, "it is nevertheless much smaller than the estimated radiative forcing due to anthropogenic changes." That is, human activities are the primary factor in global climate change.

Solar irradiance changes have been measured reliably by satellites for only 30 years. These precise observations show changes of a few tenths of a percent that depend on the level of activity in the 11-year solar cycle. Changes over longer periods must be inferred from other sources. Estimates of earlier variations are important for calibrating the climate models. While a component of recent global climate change may have been caused by the increased solar activity of the last solar cycle, that…...

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