Skip to main content

NASA has produced a stunning 27 second video that maps earth's temperature for the past 130 years. The rapid warming for the past 30 years concentrated in the Arctic is shocking.

The rapid warming in the last 30 years is eye opening, but the video does not show why it has happened. To understand why we need to examine the factors that are affecting the earth's temperature. These factors are called "climate forcings" by climatologists.

A 2011 paper by Dr Jim Hansen and colleagues examined all the important climate forcings in detail. This paper clearly shows that the rapid warming over the past 30 years is caused by rapidly increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Many climate skeptics have suggested that changes in solar activity are naturally causing the increasing temperatures, but examination of Hansen's paper and NASA's data on solar activity show that is a failed hypothesis. Solar activity was low from 1880 to 1920 and increased up to about 1980, then began to decline slowly just as the global temperature shot up over the past 30 years. The actual changes in solar activity are a fraction of 1% and exert a small influence on the global temperatures over the past 130 years.

The largest natural contributor to global temperature variations over the past 130 years is volcanism. Aerosols form large volcanic eruptions reflected a significant amount of incoming solar radiation from 1880 to 1920, causing a prolonged cool period. Low solar activity also contributed to causing the cool period. Volcanic activity was low from 1920 to the early 1960s and solar activity rose, causing natural warming. The effects of increasing levels of greenhouse gases produced by human activities were canceled out by rising levels of solar radiation reflecting air pollution.

Large volcanic eruptions in the 1960s caused a brief cooling period.

Despite continued volcanism which would have caused natural cooling, the climate warmed in the 70s through the mid 80s as Europeans and Americans reduced sulfate emissions form coal fired power plants and other sources. The reduction in aerosols from human activities canceled out the effects of high levels of aerosols from volcanic activity. Greenhouse gas emissions increased rapidly, starting a period of rapid global warming.

NOAA's Mauna Loa Hawaii Atmospheric CO2 Levels

Rate of Increase of Mauna Loa CO2 Levels

Climate records show a high degree of variability at the annual level as El Nino and La Nina cause annual highs and lows. The El Nino of 1998, which was one of the strongest in history, caused a high spike. Over decades, the peaks and valleys caused by El Ninos and La Ninas average out showing a long term trend of rapid global warming since 1980.

The recent uptick in CO2 emissions from Asia hasn't affected the long-term trend significantly yet because smog levels have risen with greenhouse gas emissions. When China and India cut levels of aerosol pollution the full effect of rising Asian greenhouse gas emissions will be evident.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Mon Jan 30, 2012 at 07:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Astro Kos, DKOMA, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, SciTech, and Street Prophets .

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

a gilas girl, Caipirinha, Grassroots Mom, Alumbrados, tsackton, Angie in WA State, Sylv, TXdem, Chi, filkertom, samizdat, grollen, ogre, teacherken, Bendygirl, ORDem, XOVER, Trendar, glitterscale, moon in the house of moe, Geenius at Wrok, Powered Grace, wytcld, newjeffct, bread, Shockwave, Wintermute, billlaurelMD, SanJoseLady, nemoplanetia, rhubarb, eeff, xynz, HootieMcBoob, x, Richard Cranium, frisco, gjohnsit, Foreign Devil, exNYinTX, hubcap, silence, Bugsby, JLFinch, RumsfeldResign, cinnamon68, jackspace, bronte17, cskendrick, howd, Bring more on, Xapulin, barath, farmerhunt, chimpy, JuliaAnn, Ignacio Magaloni, ornerydad, itskevin, splashy, Cedwyn, arreay, antirove, lulusbackintown, Dube, Eric Blair, psnyder, Doolittle, danthrax, jlynne, Miss Jones, pat bunny, 2laneIA, Tracker, brainwave, astronautagogo, texasmom, DSC on the Plateau, Steven Payne, defluxion10, Catte Nappe, BlogDog, 313to212, Chun Yang, zerelda, ybruti, side pocket, mungley, JayDean, Wife of Bath, Mosquito Pilot, Steven D, lurker123, rickeagle, vacantlook, pat208, sebastianguy99, environmentalist, oortdust, BoogieMama, rapala, davidincleveland, G2geek, Into The Woods, humphrey, Bluesee, sandblaster, 3goldens, greycat, el dorado gal, caul, subtropolis, democracy inaction, kitchen sink think tank, basquebob, dewtx, kaye, catleigh, Brooke In Seattle, trinityfly, Laurence Lewis, eru, lennysfo, GreenPA, jimreyn, where4art, aaraujo, LABobsterofAnaheim, Ice Blue, Little Lulu, blue jersey mom, ivorybill, Sandino, kaliope, Tool, SocioSam, mightymouse, Alan Arizona, Jim R, barbybuddy, martini, Paul Ferguson, gwilson, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Milly Watt, 417els, profundo, Left Coast Lib, 8ackgr0und N015e, seefleur, mooshter, Scientician, dougymi, fromer, Magnifico, Shakludanto, blueoasis, DarkestHour, Ashaman, gooderservice, Crashing Vor, boatsie, doinaheckuvanutjob, democracy is coming, CA Nana, profh, stlkaper, kkbDIA, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, lynneinfla, gerald 1969, cpresley, DBunn, tegrat, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, pgm 01, bluicebank, pfiore8, Ken in MN, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, SpecialKinFlag, blue armadillo, ninkasi23, Debs2, ColoTim, psychodrew, profewalt, Magster, david mizner, Ticonderoga, Matt Z, terabytes, FischFry, bnasley, jayden, SeaTurtle, jnhobbs, millwood, jhop7, uciguy30, Assaf, South Park Democrat, Terra Mystica, on the cusp, Mike Williams, jwinIL14, Shane Hensinger, mconvente, eternallyvigilant, Sixty Something, bythesea, elwior, wade norris, Akonitum, KJG52, jamess, tofumagoo, madame damnable, bluesheep, home solar, envwq, temptxan, glendaw271, petulans, doppler effect, psilocynic, JamieG from Md, Quilldriver, palantir, dmhlt 66, dzog, CIndyCasella, fayea, maxcat06, 207wickedgood, maggiejean, plumbobb, Bule Betawi, McGahee220, J M F, weaponsofmassdeception, Fonsia, nchristine, BoiseBlue, carolyn urban, An Affirming Flame, bsmechanic, maryabein, imchange, Methinks They Lie, susanWAstate, Partisan Progressive, Hopeful Monster, geodemographics, kevinpdx, IreGyre, sfarkash, jfromga, Leftcandid, collardgreens, Amber6541, flitedocnm, LaughingPlanet, NJpeach, estreya, David Harris Gershon, jethrock, fidellio, stunzeed, Crabby Abbey, Polly Syllabic, ATFILLINOIS, gulfgal98, samanthab, DerAmi, NYWheeler, orlbucfan, kenwards, ericlewis0, tapu dali, Oh Mary Oh, soaglow, dot farmer, Mac in Maine, Onomastic, redlum jak, xgy2, ozsea1, Hopeful Skeptic, kirbybruno, vahana, ontheleftcoast, asterkitty, kevin k, California06, trumpeter, Haf2Read, marleycat, cyberpuggy, thomask, Muskegon Critic, Sabazinus, MRA NY, MuskokaGord, corvaire, Tyto Alba, mali muso, sound of progress, Imhotepsings, wide eyed lib, Marihilda, Friendlystranger, blue aardvark, joey c, ratcityreprobate, RLMiller, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Mentatmark, Auriandra, I C Mainer, No one gets out alive, BlueDragon, YaNevaNo, IowaBiologist, livingthedream, anodnhajo, StonyB, cwsmoke, greenbastard, Mindful Nature, Siri, foucaultspendulum, Eric Nelson, pimutant, FreeSpeaker, Yonkers Boy, CA ridebalanced, Horace Boothroyd III, David Kroning II, Mr Robert, DollyMadison, DrCoyle65, belinda ridgewood, Spirit Dancer, qannabbos, ricklewsive, notdarkyet, New Minas, wxorknot, cassandracarolina, Vote4Obamain2012, AuntieRa, janislav, artmanfromcanuckistan, James Wells, Windowpane, TheLawnRanger, ForestLake, John Crapper, atana, GenXBadger, Setsuna Mudo, Markoff Chaney

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site