This report by Mike Neuman focuses on the latest global products from
NOAA NCDC on: August, 2003, June-August 2003... surface and Stratosphere
This report at:
Global Warming Worsening as Greenhouse Gases Climb
Wednesday, 17 September 2003
by Michael T. Neuman
Summary: As Earth's atmosphere continues to become more concentrated with
carbon dioxide gas and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) from
humans burning fossil fuels for energy -- in automobiles, trucks,
airplanes, locomotives, ships, boats, race cars, ATVs, residential and
industrial furnaces, electricity-generating fossil fuel fired power
plants, military transport vehicles and other fuel burning sources --
temperature readings of the oceans, land surface and lower troposphere
continue to climb, without interruption.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National
Climate Data Center(NCDC) reported Monday that August 2003 temperatures
across the Northern Hemisphere were the highest in recorded history.
Temperatures in June, July and August (the boreal summer) were the second
warmest across the Northern Hemisphere, while average temperatures across
the Southern Hemisphere for the same period were the third warmest since
NOAA began keeping temperature record in 1880.
August's average land and ocean temperature for both the North and South
Hemisphere's (the entire planet) was the second warmest on record for
August. Only the unusually warm year 1998 had August temperatures above
this year's globally averaged temperatures.
The warm global temperatures in August this year means that there have
now been 88 consecutive months -- beginning with April 1997 -- when the
monthly global average temperature has been "above normal" (i.e., above
the average temperature for the month that occurred during the period
1971 to the present).
Meanwhile, temperatures in the lower stratosphere obtained via NOAA's
TIROS-N polar-orbiting satellites show falling stratospheric
The fact that the temperature levels in the lower stratosphere are
falling is consistent with the fact that greenhouse gas levels in the
lower troposphere have been rising, because as more heat is trapped below
the stratosphere, less becomes available to warm the stratosphere.
According to a recent study published in the "Journal of Geophysical
Research Letters" (August 31, 2003), the Northern Hemisphere is warmer
now than it's been in at least the last 2,000 years. The study examined
the trunks of ancient trees, ice cores, vegetation patterns and
historical records before concluding that the late 20th century warmth is
"unprecedented for at least roughly the past two millennia for the
Furthermore, the study reports that the earth as a whole has warmed
faster in the last 20 years than its temperature fluctuates over the
period of one hundred years.
Recently, it has been reported that the hole in the stratosphere's ozone
layer has grown larger this year than ever before.
Global warming from excessive fossil fuel burning by humans could be the
cause for the ozone hole's enlargement this year, say some scientists.
A team of German, Swiss and British scientists had predicted in the March
26 1999 issue of the journal "Science" that the cooler air in the
stratosphere would lead to further depletion of ozone, because trace
gases which normally protect the ozone in the stratosphere get reduced
when stratospheric temperatures decline.
Finally, there continue to people who, for whatever reason, question the
facts regarding the Earth's temperatures actually increasing, many of
whom also question any role increased accumulations of greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere might be playing in causing global average temperatures
The amount of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere over the past
150 years of fuel burning by humans, in inventions such as the
automobile, coal and natural gas fired electricity generating plants,
industrial furnaces, incandescent and florescent lights, air
conditioning, airplanes, trucks, locomotives, ships, and other machines
that rely on internal combustion for energy, is by no means a small
amount, as many global warming skeptics commonly claim.
In fact, the last 150 years of humans increasingly burning fossil fuels
over much of the surface of the planet have led to unprecedented
concentration levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere (40%
increases over background levels). According to laboratory analysis of
ice cores take from deep within Greenland's glaciers, today's
concentration levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are higher than they've
been in at least the last 400,000 years, perhaps even millions of years
before then, as well.
In terms of the total weight, the weight of the CO2 added to the
atmosphere in the last 100 years as a result of humans burning vast
quantities of gasoline, coal and natural gas is estimated to have
amounted to 170 billion tons of CO2 than had been present in the
atmosphere in 1900! Since carbon dioxide has an average life in the
atmosphere of 120 years, even if emissions of CO2 gas to the atmosphere
from humans burning fossil fuels ceased today, the warming would
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
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