When it comes to showing how human activity since the Industrial Revolution has resulted in climate change, there’s no such thing as enough proof. Scientists have known for at least 50 years that the rampant worldwide use of fossil fuels, like coal and oil, to serve modern energy needs is the reason the planet is overheating so fast. Most conclusions on global warming have been made with the help of climate models based on observations of the massive increase in CO2 in the atmosphere or the simultaneous rise in heat trapped in the ocean. To be sure, such models paint a scientifically robust and true picture of what is happening on the planet. However, the latest satellite research from the US space agency NASA has proved beyond doubt that yes, humans did it.
The study, Observational Evidence Of Increasing Global Radiative Forcing, was published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal on 25 March. It offers a comprehensive evaluation of the extent to which the presence of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG, including CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere is heating up the planet. Based on satellite observations made between 2003-19 by NASA, the study shows how the planet’s “energy budget” has been thrown off balance by atmospheric GHG.
Earth’s energy budget is the difference between the amount of solar energy it receives and the amount it reflects back into space. The study says that over time, as the amount of GHG in the atmosphere has increased due to the use of fossil fuels, more energy (in the form of radiative heat) is being absorbed by the planet. The study finds that between 2003-18, this radiative forcing has grown by 0.5 watts per meter-squared (W/m2).
We now have the first continuous near real-time observations of how humans are increasing Earth’s greenhouse effect, developed by @NASA & university partners. The research directly demonstrates how human activities are responsible for changing the climate.https://t.co/L0OkPkGstG pic.twitter.com/WwvxruwBfg— NASA Earth (@NASAEarth) March 25, 2021
Speaking to CBS News, Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (which led the research) explained the meaning of the value. He said this is the equivalent energy released by one Christmas tree light bulb for every 5 sq. ft of the planet.
So there you have it, more proof that corroborates all the other findings made by scientists over the years.. Not that the severity of the situation has escaped people. According to UNESCO’s (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s) The World In 2030 Survey Report, published on 31 March, climate change and the loss of biodiversity were identified as the most pressing problems by over 15,000 people worldwide. However, only one in four respondents held out any hope that the world’s governments would be able to cooperate effectively to solve the problems.