Glikson’s Climate QaA,MB’s comments,Glikson’s (AG) responses to MB’s comments
Are human activities contributing to climate change? How do we know the atmosphere build up of greenhouse gasesis due to human activity?
Glikson QaA-1a: Since the industrial revolution in the mid-18th century,combustion of fossil fuel resulted in the emission of more than 320billion tons of carbon in the form of CO2. This is more than half the pre-industrial carbon content of the atmosphere of 590 billion tons. About200 billion tons stayed in the atmosphere, raising CO2 concentrationfrom 280 parts per million (ppm) to the current level of 388 ppm.
: So CO2 occupies one part in ten thousand more of the atmosphere than it did 250 yearsago. If we do not reduce our emissions, it will occupy one part in 2000 more in another 100years. The warming effect of each additional molecule of CO2 is less than that of itspredecessor. The CO2 that is already in the atmosphere is causing very nearly all of thewarming that CO2 can cause.
AG Response to MB 1a
Despite attempts to argue to the contrary, global warming since the 18
centuryhas reached levels above any measured or studied through proxies for theHolocene (since 11 kyr) (compare Figure 1a with Figure 9), whereby the lastdecade includes the 3 warmest years on record.CO2 constitutes the second-most important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas afterwater vapour. The CO2 in the atmosphere has not absorbed "
very nearly all of the warming that CO2 can cause
". A further increase in CO2 comparable to thatso far caused by anthropogenic activity since the industrial revolution, that is,about 100 ppm, can further raise global temperature, as indicated by
estimates (the relation of CO2 with mean global temperatures, definedat 3+/-1.5 degrees C per doubling of CO2) (Charney, 1979, Hansen et al., 2007,2008) (see Figure 1) This translates into 3°C to 4°C rise in the polar regions,leading to the directly observed extensive melting of the Arctic Sea ice, Greenlandice sheet, West Antarctic ice sheet (http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n12/full/ngeo694.html).Recent satellite data indicates ice loss in East Antarctica glaciers (Nathan Bindoff,Professor of Physical Oceanography, Antarctic Climate Ecosystems CooperativeResearch Centre, Hobart: “The data shows that East Antarctica has beenshedding about 57 billion tonnes of ice mass each year since 2006. And most of this loss has occurred in the coastal fringes.” http://www.abc. net.au/pm/content/2009/s2751232.htm).MB’s comment, which refers to the low concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere(few hundred parts per million, as compared to the major atmosphericcomponents: Nitrogen ~78%; Oxygen ~21%), ignores the fact that CO2 andwater vapour constitute the most important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gases inthe atmosphere, with radiative effects which far exceeds their absoluteconcentrations (see Figures 1 and 2). The greenhouse effect of water vapour areimportant in the tropics but are minor over the deserts and polar regions—which