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: NASA investigating short circuit on Mars rover Curiosity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 ...

Solving carbon mysteries of the deep ocean

Feb 18, 2015

Understanding how oceans absorb and cycle carbon is crucial to understanding its role in climate change. For approximately 50 years, scientists have known there exists a large pool of dissolved carbon in ...

Interesting facts about the planets

Feb 17, 2015

While the universe is a big place to study, we shouldn't forget our own backyard. With eight planets and a wealth of smaller worlds to look at, there's more than enough to learn for a few lifetimes!

Mars is the next step for humanity – we must take it

Feb 09, 2015

Elon Musk has built a US$12 billion company in an endeavour to pave the way to Mars for humanity. He insists that Mars is a "long-term insurance policy" for "the light of consciousness" in the face of cli ...

Study supplies insight into behavior of African monsoon

Feb 02, 2015

Think of the Sahara and you will conjure images of a vast desert landscape, with nothing but sand as far as the eye can see. But for a period of about 10,000 years, the Sahara was characterized by lush, green ...

Recommended for you

Planet 'reared' by four parent stars

1 hour ago

Growing up as a planet with more than one parent star has its challenges. Though the planets in our solar system circle just one star—our sun—other more distant planets, called exoplanets, can be reared ...

Image: Training for Sentinel-2A launch

13 hours ago

On 25 February, the Sentinel-2A Mission Control Team at ESOC, ESA's mission operations centre, Darmstadt, Germany, commenced simulation training for the critical launch and early orbit phase.

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.