Feldman: “People have long talked about CO2 being a greenhouse gas, but the actual greenhouse effect, that’s the actual warming of the atmosphere caused by CO2, has not been measured in the field.”

Lawrence Berkely Lab monitoring equipment

That’s Daniel Feldman of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He says no one had actually measured the link between increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and rising temperatures, because it requires a lot of very high quality measurements over a long period of time.

By looking at weather data collected over eleven years in Oklahoma and Alaska, Feldman was able to pinpoint the exact amount of infrared radiation, or heat, being trapped by increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide, instead of being released into space.

Using very precise instruments, he determined how much of the warming came from CO2 instead of other sources.

It’s significant because Feldman was able to measure the exact relationship between increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and additional energy, or heat, at the earth’s surface.

His results are very consistent with the estimates of climate change computer models, and the measurements will help scientists develop even more accurate predictions of future global warming.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: The scientists used spectroscopic instruments operated by the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility. This research site is on the North Slope of Alaska near the town of Barrow. They also collected data from a site in Oklahoma. (Credit: Jonathan Gero). (Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

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Topics: Climate Science