Scientists Measure Impact of Greenhouse Gases on Earth’s Surface

A research team led by scientists from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has for the first time observed the effect that greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, have on the temperature of the Earth's surface. These findings have proved that global warming is linked to the burning of fossil fuels.

According to a statement given by the Berkeley Lab, the researchers have measured the atmospheric carbon dioxide's increasing capacity to absorb the heat given off by the Earth's surface over a time span of 11 years. The detailed research was published in an article published on 25th of February in the advance online issue of the journal Nature.

The observations were made on the basis of two locations in North America-one in Oklahoma and one on the North Slope of Alaska.

Computer models and laboratory tests have long shown that pumping large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would led to the production of a 'greenhouse gas effect' whereas the heat that should disperse into space gets trapped by a blanket of gases that absorbs it.

But this is the first time that the scientists have observed the work process and have given the confirmation of what today's climate forecast.

In a statement, Daniel Feldman, a scientist at the Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division, lead author, said, "Numerous studies show rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but our study provides the critical link between those concentrations and the addition of energy to the system, or the greenhouse effect".

For the observation, the researchers used the state-of-the-art high precision spectroscopic instruments. These tools helped in the measurement of thermal infrared energy that travels from the atmosphere to Earth's surface. With the help of it, they detected CO2 by its unique spectral signature.

It is the first time ever that scientists have documented a direct link between the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and the increase in thermal radiation that heats up the earth's surface.

United States