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Green house effect
Scientists attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century to the human expansion of the "greenhouse effect"1 — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.
Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are described as "forcing" climate change. Gases, such as water vapor, which respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are seen as "feedbacks."
Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner.
Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.
JLF is an expert in climate and Earth science. While its role is not to set climate policy or prescribe particular responses or solutions to climate change, its purview does include providing the robust scientific data needed to understand climate change and evaluating the impact of efforts to combat it. JLF then makes this information available to the global community – the public, policy- and decision-makers and scientific and planning agencies around the world.
By Jessica Merzdorf,
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
This article is part of a series that explores NASA research into Earth's fresh water and surveys how those advances help people solve real world problems
November 8, 2018 was a dry day in Butte County, California. The state was in its sixth consecutive year of drought, and the county had not had a rainfall event producing more than a half inch of rain for seven months. The dry summer had parched the spring vegetation, and the strong northeasterly winds of autumn were gusting at 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour) and rising, creating red flag conditions: Any planned or unplanned fires could quickly get out of control.
Sure enough, just before daybreak, strong winds whipped a stray spark from a power line into an inferno. The Camp Fire became the most destructive fire in California’s history, scorching approximately 240 square miles (622 square kilometers), destroying nearly 14,000 buildings, causing billions of dollars in damage and killing 88 people. Later the same day, the Woolsey Fire broke out in Los Angeles County, burning 150 square miles (about 390 square kilometers) and killing three.
Droughts can create ideal conditions for wildfires. Lack of rain and low humidity dry out trees and vegetation, providing fuel. In these conditions, a spark from lightning, electrical failures, human error or planned fires can quickly get out of control.
By Jenny Marder,
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Every evening from late spring to early fall, two planes lift off from airports in the western United States and fly through the sunset, each headed for an active wildfire, and then another, and another. From 10,000 feet above ground, the pilots can spot the glow of a fire, and occasionally the smoke enters the cabin, burning the eyes and throat.
The pilots fly a straight line over the flames, then U-turn and fly back in an adjacent but overlapping path, like they’re mowing a lawn. When fire activity is at its peak, it’s not uncommon for the crew to map 30 fires in one night. The resulting aerial view of the country’s most dangerous wildfires helps establish the edges of those fires and identify areas thick with flames, scattered fires and isolated hotspots.
Physical Sciences division of the Colombo University
Apr 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka is experiencing the warmest weather in 140 years according to Professor Chandana Jayaratne of the Physical Sciences division of the Colombo University.
Professor Chandana Jayaratne Professor in Physics, who is an expert in atmospheric sciences says an analysis of the meteorological data confirms the extreme weather condition.
He said that there are a few reasons for the increase in the temperatures. The sun is at its peak over the island during this time of the year and the El Nino effect and also the gradual rise in global temperatures during the past 4 years also contribute to the warm up.
The Department of Meteorology said that these days the temperature has increased by two to three degrees Celsius above the average temperature in the past thirty years.
Meanwhile, the Meteorology Department says extremely warm conditions prevail in the North Central, North-Western and Sabaragamuwa, Moneragala, Gampaha, Mannar, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu districts.
Over 580,000 people have been affected by the dry weather and dry weather related events, according to the Disaster Management Center.
How Do We Know?
The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.
The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.
Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate
The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.
Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming