ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Environment

Humans Increase Moisture Content Of Atmosphere

September 24, 2007 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 85, ISSUE 39

An article published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports the first quantitative data showing that global warming is elevating the moisture content of the atmosphere (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0702872104). The vapor content in each square-meter column of atmosphere has increased since 1988 by about 0.41 kg per decade, says lead author Benjamin Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Program for Climate Modeling & Intercomparison, in California. "Natural variability can't explain that change," he adds. "This is the first identification of a human fingerprint on the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere." Excess water vapor, a greenhouse gas, amplifies the warming effect of higher CO2 concentrations. The authors of the paper used the combined results of 22 different computer models of the climate system and data from a satellite-based microwave imager to show that the recent increase of moisture in the atmosphere is not due to solar forcing or gradual recovery from the effects of the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption in 1991. "The climate system is telling us a consistent story. The observed changes in temperature, moisture, and atmospheric circulation fit together in an internally and physically consistent way," Santer adds.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment