Trace-gas greenhouse effect and global warming: underlying principles and outstanding issues -- Volvo Environmental Prize lecture 1997

Ramanathan, V.
May 1998
AMBIO - A Journal of the Human Environment;May1998, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p187
Academic Journal
This paper describes the developments that transformed the global warming problem from that arising solely from CO2 increase to the trace-gas greenhouse effect problem in which several non-CO2 gases, CFCs, CH4, N2O, O3 and others contribute as much as CO2. Observed trace-gasincreases, including CO2 increase, since the mid-19th century have enhanced the atmospheric greenhouse effect, Ga, (3 130 1 5 W m-2) by about 2%. Without other competing factors, this heating should have committed the planet to a warming of about 1 to 1.5 K. The added radiative energy is maximum in the low latitudes and about a factor of two smaller in the polar regions. The largest effect of the warming is increased back radiation at the surface by as much as 6 to 8 W m-2 per degree warming. Not all of this increased energy is balanced by surface emission; evaporation (and hence precipitation) increases to restore surface energy balance, by as much as 2 to 4% per degree warming. The increase in evaporation along with the increase in saturation vapor pressure of the warmer troposphere, contributes through the atmospheric dynamics to an increase in water vapor. This water vapor feedback enhances Ga by another 1% per degree warming. Our ability to predict regional and transient effects, depends critically on resolving a number of outstanding issues, including: i) Aerosol and stratosphericozone effects; ii) Response of the tropical convective-cirrus clouds, the extra-tropical storm-track systems and persistent coastal stratus to both global warming and to regional emissions of aerosols; iii)The causes of excess solar absorption in clouds; and iv) Upper troposphere water vapor feedback effects.


Related Articles

  • Methane and other gases.  // Geographical (Geographical Magazine Ltd.);Dec2007, Vol. 79 Issue 12, p12 

    This article discusses a report on the contribution of methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases to global warming. According to the report, these greenhouse gases are more efficient at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, but are present in much smaller quantities, and their...

  • The "Global Warming.".  // Claims;Aug2008, Vol. 56 Issue 8, p22 

    The article focuses on the global warming phenomenon, how it will trigger insurance claims, and whether such claims are not included under a typical absolute pollution exclusion found in commercial general liability (CGL) policies. Among the principal greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane...

  • Counterpoint: Cooling Off. Witherbee, Amy // Points of View: Global Warming;6/30/2019, p6 

    This article presents an argument on global warming. The world's scientists no longer have any doubt about the fact that we are changing the chemical concentration of our atmosphere. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), since the Industrial Revolution ushered in...

  • Point: Overreacting to Climate Change. Witherbee, Amy // Points of View: Global Warming;6/30/2019, p5 

    This article presents an argument that environmentalists are overreacting to climate changes. Recent theories about greenhouse gasses and man-made climate change arose from the study of what makes our planet inhabitable while others in our solar system are unable to sustain life. Despite the...

  • Carbon dioxide is not the cause of global warming. Kulshreshtha, Anand // Chemical Business;Mar2008, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p32 

    Carbon dioxide gas (CO2) is not the principal cause of global warming (GW), because it has been around ever since the beginning of life on earth. In no way it is a threat to planet earth. On the other hand, CO2 essential to survival of plants, trees, crops and all the greenery & granary, herbs,...

  • Are we changing the Earth's climate? J.C. // National Wildlife (World Edition);Oct/Nov85, Vol. 23 Issue 6, p23 

    Reports that many scientists believe that modern civilization has inadvertently started a warming trend by releasing carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse effect in which the gases act like a roof of a giant hothouse; Prediction by scientists at the National Center for...

  • Factors Influencing Methane (CH4) and Nitrous oxide (N2O) Emissions from Soils: A Review. Mojeremane, Witness // International Journal of Forest, Soil & Erosion;Aug2013, Vol. 3 Issue 3, p104 

    Methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are the two most important non-carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gases (GHGs) that play a critical role in shaping the global climate. Their concentrations in the atmosphere have been significantly increased by human activities. CH4 has contributed to an...

  • U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 2001.  // World Almanac & Book of Facts;2004, p174 

    Presents a chart regarding the amounts of nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide present in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2001.

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Three Cage Layer Housing Systems. Fournel, S�bastien; Pelletier, Fr�d�ric; Godbout, St�phane; Lagac�, Robert; Feddes, John // Animals (2076-2615);Mar2012, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p1 

    Agriculture accounts for 10 to 12% of the World's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Manure management alone is responsible for 13% of GHG emissions from the agricultural sector. During the last decade, Qu�bec's egg production systems have shifted from deep-pit housing systems to manure...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics