Europe is warmed by water vapor feedback

Nov 09, 2005

Swiss scientists say Europe's recent rapid temperature increase is likely due to an unexpected greenhouse gas: water vapor.

Researchers at the World Radiation Center in Davos, Switzerland, say elevated surface temperatures caused by other greenhouse gases have enhanced water evaporation and contributed to a cycle that stimulates further surface temperature increases.

The scientists say their findings might help answer a long-debated Earth science question about whether the water cycle could strongly enhance greenhouse warming.

The Swiss researchers examined surface radiation measurements from 1995 to 2002 over the Alps in Central Europe and found strongly increasing total surface absorbed radiation, concurrent with rapidly increasing temperatures.

The authors, led by Rolf Philipona of the World Radiation Center, show experimentally that 70 percent of the rapid temperature increase is very likely caused by water vapor feedback. They indicate the remaining 30 percent is likely due to increasing manmade greenhouse gases.

They suggest their observations indicate Europe is experiencing an increasing greenhouse effect and the dominant part of the rising heat emitted from the Earth's atmosphere (longwave radiation) is due to water vapor increase.

The report appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Studying wetlands as a producer of greenhouse gases

Jul 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —Wetlands are well known for their beneficial role in the environment. But UConn Honors student Emily McInerney '15 (CAHNR) is studying a less widely known role of wetlands – as a major producer ...

What geology has to say about global warming

Jul 14, 2014

Last month I gave a public lecture entitled, "When Maine was California," to an audience in a small town in Maine. It drew parallels between California, today, and Maine, 400 million years ago, when similar ...

Australia drying caused by greenhouse gases and ozone

Jul 13, 2014

NOAA scientists have developed a new high-resolution climate model that shows southwestern Australia's long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall is caused by increases in manmade greenhouse gas emissions ...

Under the bright lights of an aging sun

Jul 04, 2014

Life as we know it on Earth is linked to our star, the Sun, which provides our planet with just the right amount of heat and energy for liquid water to be stable in our lakes, rivers and oceans. However, ...

Recommended for you

Fermi satellite detects gamma-rays from exploding novae

2 hours ago

The Universe is home to a variety of exotic objects and beautiful phenomena, some of which can generate almost inconceivable amounts of energy. ASU Regents' Professor Sumner Starrfield is part of a team that ...

Exploring Mars in low Earth orbit

7 hours ago

In their quest to understand life's potential beyond Earth, astrobiologists study how organisms might survive in numerous environments, from the surface of Mars to the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter's moon, ...

Image: Hubble serves a slice of stars

9 hours ago

The thin, glowing streak slicing across this image cuts a lonely figure, with only a few foreground stars and galaxies in the distant background for company.

User comments : 0