How did people get to be weather-makers?
It seems incredible - the idea that one species of animal could alter the planet's atmosphere enough to change the whole climate.
Human activities of various kinds have become the dominant influence on Earth's climate.
What I've provided here is a sketch of the evidence demonstrating that we are causing the warming of the world, and nothing else.
There is a mountain of other evidence, and no credible alternative.
If you want to investigate this further, the best place to begin is Skeptical Science. Use this link.
Coal and oil for a year
Coal mountain 1,400m high
15 kilometres round the base
Oil tank 1.7 kilometres on a side
We burn a lot of carbon.
For many folks, this question lingers in the mind even when the facts seem to be all there. It just doesn't appear possible that even large amounts of gases could mess up the whole planet. It's just too big ... and we're so small. For some folks I guess the idea looks arrogant, as if we were taking a role that belongs to God.
A robust model can reproduce the last century's climate record if and only if it includes anthropogenic forcings - not otherwise.
Energy and wealth.
In the world we humans have built, energy is power and wealth. It always has been. That's why Empires always used slaves.
So every human on Earth has at their disposal the labour of 115 men.
Just think, each time you fill your car with 40 litres of refined gasoline, you've recruited the energy equivalent of 700 men to carry you around in comfort. In this respect, we are like the greatest emperors.
How do we know for sure that humans are the cause of the climate problem?
Could most of the warming be caused by something else?
Each of these biases has since been observed
GISS global map showing the temperature anomaly (difference from a base period - 1951 to 1980) for the year 2010, a warm year, representative of the last couple of decades. You can clearly see how the Arctic and northern high latitudes have the lion's share pf warming - about 2 or 3 times as much as the global mean of 0.62℃. The next warmest place is the Antarctic Peninsula. Also, the continents show more warming than the ocean, which is also typical.
Comparing the pattern of warming between night & day for Australia over the last century. You can see that annual maxima began to exceed the base period mean only in the last decade or so; but the annual minima (which corresponds to the frequency of hot nights) has been sharply above trend for 35 years.
The reason greenhouse warming affects nights most is that the greenhouse effect is the only thing that keeps nights from being abysmally cold, like they are on the Moon. Nothing but the greenhouse gases stops the day's heat radiating out through the atmosphere to space in a matter of hours each evening. So if you add more, this beneficial effect is strengthened.
A pair of GISS maps showing temperature anomaly for the last 33 years, in winter (left) and summer (right). This effect is only apparent over a couple of decades. Nothing prevents cold winters from year to year regionally, even in the presence of a long-term warming trend.
In this study, you can see the trend in tropopause altitude (a rise of several hundred metres over 35 years or so), and the various major volcanic eruptions that have temporarily reversed the trend. A rise of the tropopause, together with stratospheric cooling, which has also been observed, is diagnostic of greenhouse warming.
The evidence from John Harries' 2001 study comparing the records of satellite observations in 1970 & 1997. The signature is shown here - reductions in transmission at precisely the spectral frequencies predicted by theory. Nothing but the observed rise in greenhouse efficacy can account for this effect. CO2 is on the left; methane on the right; three different CFC's & ozone are in the middle. It is as clear as a diagnosis can be.
After Crosby, A, Children of the Sun, 2006. Norton. p162
This data comes from the Scripps Institute, where it is collected & analysed. If you are interested in this, there's a good CDIAC article about measuring oxygen depletion here
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