Category Archives: Climate
The Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of many different gases. Several of these gases are known as “greenhouse gases” because they share the characteristic of being excellent absorbers of infra-red radiation.
Such gases absorb radiation emitted by the Earth that would otherwise escape to space and cool the planet. Upon being absorbed, these gases re-emit a fraction of that energy back downward to the surface, keeping the planet warmer than it would otherwise be. In fact, our Earth would have an average temperature of about zero without these greenhouse gases. Continue reading
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitors and reports on the ice coverage of the Great Lakes. The average concentration of ice on Lake Superior is currently 5.7 percent, compared to 4.6 percent last year and 55.5 percent in 2015. … Continue reading
The observational evidence that our Earth is warming is overwhelming and unmistakable. Earth scientists agree that in the past 200-plus years, human activity has been a significant contributing factor to the observed increase in mean global temperatures. Scientists cannot explain this increasing temperature trend without incorporating human impacts, primarily the burning fossil fuels.
Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, was probably the first scientist to propose that burning fossil fuels could modify our global temperatures. He recognized that carbon dioxide (CO2), a byproduct of burning carbon-based substances such as natural gas, gasoline and oil, is like a greenhouse gas and that increasing the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere through human activities could lead to a warmer Earth. He made this estimate in 1896. So, we have been aware of the fundamental physics of global warming for over 100 years. Continue reading
If you thought November was warmer than usual around southern Wisconsin, you were exactly right.
Madison averaged 7.6 degrees above normal for the month, which ranked as the third warmest November on record (since 1870). Continue reading
The year 2016 will go down as one with below-normal Arctic sea ice coverage.
While not quite a record-setting year like 2012, throughout much of 2016 the extent of sea ice was more than two standard deviations below the average. At the end of October the Arctic sea ice was at its lowest coverage for the month since satellite-based data records started in 1978. Continue reading