Increasing Temperatures & Greenhouse Gases

December 5, 2009 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Scott Connolly for the link to this Woods Hole Research Center page on climate change evidence.

Scientific Evidence
Increasing Temperatures & Greenhouse Gases
Through the study of ancient ice cores from Antarctica it is possible to compare atmospheric concentrations of the dominant greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere with temperature variations over the past 400 thousand years of the earth’s history (Fig 1). A visual comparison of the two trends indicates a very tight connection between their performance, with fluctuations in one plot almost exactly mirrored in the other for more than 400 thousand years. But suddenly in the 1800s, as the Industrial Revolution takes off, atmospheric CO2 concentrations begin an unprecedented upward climb, rising rapidly from 280 ppmv (parts per million by volume) in the early 1800s to a current level of 376 ppmv, 77 ppmv above the highest concentrations previously attained in the course of the preceding 400 thousand years.

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