We've heard it all before. Humans are causing climate change by increasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions on our planet. And yet some people still don't believe it.
Now, NASA has come up with a new study that most certainly proves the theory. The new research used direct observations to show that radiative forcings are increasing due to human actions, affecting the planet’s energy balance and ultimately causing climate change.
“This is the first calculation of the total radiative forcing of Earth using global observations, accounting for the effects of aerosols and greenhouse gases,” said Ryan Kramer, first author on the paper and a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “It’s direct evidence that human activities are causing changes to Earth’s energy budget.”
To achieve these results NASA used its Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments that have continuously flown on satellites since 1997. Each of these instruments accurately measures how much energy enters Earth’s system and how much leaves.
“But it doesn’t tell us what factors are causing changes in the energy balance,” added Kramer. So, the researchers needed to come up with a method to tell how much of this energy imbalance was caused by humans. They did this by observing how much of the imbalance was due to fluctuations in factors that are often naturally occurring.
The new method could now be used to track how human emissions are affecting the climate and more. “Creating a direct record of radiative forcing calculated from observations will allow us to evaluate how well climate models can simulate these forcings,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York City. “This will allow us to make more confident projections about how the climate will change in the future.”