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: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up

Related Stories

Most powerful space telescope ever to launch in 2018

Apr 22, 2015

As the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25 years in space this week, NASA and its international partners are building an even more powerful tool to look deeper into the universe than ever before.

Ocean pipes 'not cool,' would end up warming climate

Mar 19, 2015

To combat global climate change caused by greenhouse gases, alternative energy sources and other types of environmental recourse actions are needed. There are a variety of proposals that involve using vertical ...

Seafloor holds 15 million years of monsoon history

Mar 02, 2015

When the research vessel JOIDES Resolution returned to port in late January after a two-month cruise, it had harvested more than 550 sediment cores from deep beneath the Indian Ocean. Locked within those ...

Recommended for you

The riddle of galactic thin–thick disk solved

18 hours ago

A long-standing puzzle regarding the nature of disk galaxies has finally been solved by a team of astronomers led by Ivan Minchev from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), using state-of-the-art ...

Giant cosmic tsunami wakes up comatose galaxies

19 hours ago

Galaxies are often found in clusters, with many 'red and dead' neighbours that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers, led by Andra Stroe of Leiden Observatory ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.