Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists discover global warming linked to increase in tropopause height over past two decades


Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered another fingerprint of human effects on global climate.

Recent research has shown that increases in the height of the tropopause over the past two decades are directly linked to ozone depletion and increased greenhouse gases.

The tropopause is the transition zone between the lowest layer of the atmosphere -- the turbulently-mixed troposphere -- and the more stable stratosphere. The tropopause lies roughly 10 miles above the Earth’s surface at the equator and five miles above the poles. To date, no scientist has examined whether observed changes in tropopause height are in accord with projections from climate model greenhouse warming experiments.

The comparison was made by Livermore scientists Benjamin Santer, James Boyle, Krishna AchutaRao, Charles Doutriaux and Karl Taylor, along with researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology and the Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre in Germany. Their findings are reported in the today’s (Jan. 3) online edition of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

This research undercuts claims by greenhouse skeptics that no warming has occurred during the last two decades. Such claims are based on satellite measurements of temperatures in the troposphere, which show little or no warming since the beginning of the satellite record in 1979.

"Weather balloons and weather forecast models show that there’s been a pronounced increase in the height of the global tropopause over the last two decades," Santer said. "Our best understanding is that this increase is due to two factors: warming of troposphere, which is caused by increasing greenhouse gases, and cooling of the stratosphere, which is mainly caused by depletion of stratospheric ozone. Tropopause height changes give us independent evidence of the reality of recent warming of the troposphere."

The Livermore research supports the bottom-line conclusion of the 2001 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which states that, "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."

Earlier research showed that changes in the Earth’s surface temperature, ocean heat content, and Northern Hemisphere sea ice cover are other indicators of human effects on climate change.

"The climate system is telling us a consistent story -- that humans have had a significant effect on it," Santer said. "We’re seeing detailed correspondence between computer climate models and observations, and this correspondence is in a number of different climate variables. Tropopause height is the latest piece of the climate-change puzzle."

To support the research, Livermore scientists examined tropopause height changes in climate-change experiments using two different computer climate models. Both models showed similar decadal-scale increases in the tropopause height in response to changes in human-caused climate forcings. The patterns of tropopause height change were similar in models and so-called ’reanalysis’ products (a combination of actual observations and results from a weather forecast model).

The model experiments focused on both manmade climate forcings, such as changes in well-mixed greenhouse gases, stratospheric and tropospheric ozone, and on natural forcings, such as changes in volcanic aerosols. The forces have varying effects on atmospheric temperature, that in turn affect tropopause height, the report concludes.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Anne Stark | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>