Scientists have observed an increase in carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect at the Earth’s surface for the first time. The researchers, led by Berkeley Lab scientists, measured atmospheric carbon dioxide’s increasing capacity to absorb thermal radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface over an eleven-year period at two locations in North America. They attributed this upward trend to rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), which result from the burning of fossil fuels, also reduces the incidence of health problems from particulate matter in these emissions, according to Berkeley Lab researchers and colleagues. They calculated that the economic benefit of reduced health impacts from GHG reduction strategies in the U.S. range between $6 and $14 billion annually in 2020, depending on how the reductions are accomplished.
Today’s climate models probably overestimate the amount of carbon that will be released from soil into the atmosphere as global temperatures rise. The findings are from a new computer model that explores the feedbacks between soil carbon and climate change. It is the first such model to include a realistic representation of microbial interactions.
On Nov. 11, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping made a historic U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change outlining each country’s commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation on climate change and to announce post-2020 actions in support of the effort to transition to low-carbon economies. Regarding China’s announced target of peaking of carbon
Not long ago, it would have taken several years to run a high-resolution simulation on a global climate model. But using some of the most powerful supercomputers now available, Berkeley Lab climate scientist Michael Wehner was able to complete a run in just three months. What he found was that not only were the simulations much closer to actual observations, but the high-resolution models were far better at reproducing intense storms, such as hurricanes and cyclones.
Scientists have identified a mechanism that could turn out to be a big contributor to warming in the Arctic and melting sea ice. They found that open oceans are much less efficient than sea ice when it comes to emitting in the far-infrared region of the spectrum, a previously unknown phenomenon that is likely contributing to the warming of the polar climate.
Eight Department of Energy national laboratories, including Berkeley Lab, are combining forces with the National Center for Atmospheric Research and other institutions in a project called Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy, or ACME, which is designed to accelerate the development and application of fully coupled, state-of-the-science Earth system models for scientific and energy applications.