Nav: Home

A 'fingerprint' for anthropogenic climate change in a new place

July 19, 2018

Adding to evidence attributing observed atmospheric changes to manmade influences, climate scientists leveraging satellite data from recent decades have identified a human "fingerprint" on Earth's atmosphere in a new place: the troposphere, or, the lowest region of the atmosphere. In this low atmospheric space, say the authors, human-caused warming has significantly affected the seasonal cycle of the temperature. The new study underscores human's influence on changes to the natural variability of local and seasonal cycles in Earth's climate system. Earth's climate is affected by many external factors, each having unique effects on the climate. Identifying the fingerprints attributable to human activity involves isolating their signals from the background noise of natural variability. Fingerprint studies have been used to determine much of what is known about anthropogenic effects on climate, however, most rely on annual or decadal averages, or focus on the drivers for climate change in individual seasons. Here, Benjamin Santer et al. used satellite measurements, which provide a continuous and near-global record of tropospheric temperature for nearly 40 years, to identify a fingerprint of human influences on the planet's seasonal cycles. Their satellite-based results suggesting a manmade influence were duplicated in model simulations that only featured anthropogenic forcing, further suggesting a human origin for the climate effects observed, say the authors. The authors' results show an increase in the amplitude of seasonal variability in the tropospheric temperature over most of the globe and most markedly, in the mid-latitudes. This effect is particularly true for the northern hemisphere where warming in the summertime is greater than in the winter, perhaps partially due to increased summer drying of the land surface. In a related Perspective, William Randel highlights the importance of both continuity and quality of satellite observations in understanding human influences in the climate system in the future.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".