Enhanced Greenhouse Effect

Smog in Shanghai

Three main greenhouse gases—CO2, CH4, and N2O—are rising because of human activities such as the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas. Resulting pollution is visible above Shanghai, China.

 

A study released by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2010 said; “Climate change is occurring and is caused largely by human activities and poses significant risks for and in many cases is already affecting a broad range of human and natural systems.” The climate will continue to change for decades as a result of past human activities but scientists say that the worst impacts can still be avoided if action is taken soon.

Warming has not been limited to the Earth’s surface; the Oceans have absorbed most of the heat that has been added to the climate system resulting in a persistent rise in ocean temperatures. Over time, the heat already absorbed by the ocean will be released back to the atmosphere causing an additional 1 °F of surface warming.  In other words, some additional atmospheric warming is already “in the pipeline.”

Turk & Bensel, 2014

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