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While scientists have long agreed that human activity was the biggest driver of climate change, there hasn’t yet been evidence from direct observation (the gold standard of scientific research) until now.
NASA has completed the first study of its kind, which has calculated the recent causes of climate change by directly observing satellite data. These observations are in line with what models have been suggesting for years: that the increase in greenhouse gases and other pollution in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels has been the biggest driver of climate change.
Why This Matters: While there has been other types of evidence to demonstrate anthropogenic climate change, this is the first time scientists have been able to track how humans are directly changing Earth’s energy balance on the global scale.
But NASA was able to calculate the changes in heat trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere by taking satellite observations and using a “radiative kernel” to analyze them, which allowed the researchers to understand what factors influenced the emission and trapping of heat. Before, satellite observations of heat on Earth could only find the number of total radiation changes, rather than the individual components.
Though these results are not surprising, Brian Soden, co-author of the study and professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, summed up the importance of the study in an interview with CBS:
“In reality, the observational results came in just as predicted by the theory. There is no surprise in the results, but rather it’s really more of ‘dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s’ on anthropogenic [human-caused] climate change. It closes that last link between rising CO2 levels and planetary warming.”
Yesterday, several news outlets reported that the Biden administration will soon propose a return to aggressive Obama-era vehicle mileage standards over five years, after which rules would tighten to encourage 40% of U.S. drivers into electric vehicles by 2030. As the Post and Courrier reported, The proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and Department […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Taken together, the European Union’s 27 countries are the #4 carbon emitter globally. The recently released “Fit for 55” package spells out how, exactly, the bloc will go from its current output to hitting its goal of climate neutrality by 2050. One of the biggest proposed changes is an […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Madagascar is facing the world’s first famine caused entirely by climate change. 1.14 million people on the island nation are now considered food-insecure, and locals are scraping by on last-resort food sources like raw cactus and locusts. What’s worse: there is no end in sight. “The next planting season is less than two […]
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