What is it about?

A major cause of global warming is higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere varies from place to place, and also changes throughout the course of the year. For example, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will depend on how many plants there are in the area, and what stage of growth those plants are at. Levels of carbon dioxide and temperature are also affected by something called ‘Rossby waves’ waves in our atmosphere and ocean that are caused by the earth’s rotation. Many studies had looked at the effect of carbon dioxide levels on temperature. But they mostly used the average level of carbon dioxide, which doesn’t reflect the fact that levels vary. In this study, the scientists wanted to see how important it was that carbon dioxide levels vary. They also wanted to see what effect carbon dioxide levels have, separate from the effects of Rossby waves. They found that it only takes 2 days for surface temperatures be affected by changes in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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Why is it important?

Looking more locally at carbon emissions, carbon dioxide and global warming levels makes it clear that temperatures have been raised in regions that have high carbon emissions. The scientists were also able to show how high levels of emissions and temperatures in industrial areas are then being circulated by the atmosphere so that they affect less developed areas too. KEY TAKEAWAY: Industrial countries are causing global warming. Their high emissions raise temperatures locally. The high levels of carbon dioxide are then moved around in the atmosphere so that less developed areas suffer too.

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This page is a summary of: Climate network approach reveals the modes of CO2 concentration to surface air temperature, Chaos An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, March 2021, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0040360.
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