Why hasn't the Earth warmed as expected?
Based on the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere since the industrial era in the late 1800s, the Earth's temperature should have risen by about 3.8 degrees. But scientists have only observed a 1.4 degree increase.
A forthcoming study in the Journal of Climate pinpoints two reasons why:
1) The Earth's climate may be less sensitive to rising greenhouse gases than currently assumed;
2) The reflection of sunlight by atmospheric haze particles could be offsetting some of the expected warming.
"Because of present uncertainties in climate sensitivity and the enhanced reflectivity of haze particles," says study lead author Stephen Schwartz of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, "it is impossible to accurately assign weights to the relative contributions of these two factors. This has major implications for the understanding of Earth's climate and how the world will meet its future energy needs."
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Source Link: usatoday.com