radiative transfer

Synopsis of the CO2 problem

On what I believe is a private discussion site I was asked a number of questions about the climate problem. I'm copying my answers here (with some minor corrections of typos and for context) as they may be found helpful for others... or at least as a reminder to myself of what I know.

Q. 1 "I look forward to any insight you can provide into the real verifiable evidence of the human footprint."

A. 1
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "verifiable evidence". You acknowledge climate seems to be changing. There are two distinct pieces of knowledge that go into "blaming" it on us humans, each of which has been substantiated from multiple observations and physical understanding. These are:

(1) Humans have caused atmospheric CO2 levels to increase considerably over the past century. This youtube video shows the wide range of observations of that increase in considerable detail, also showing how it compares with past changes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2mZyCblxS4

Currying confusion

Dr. Judith Curry is chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, and has an extensive background in studying Earth's climate, particularly regarding changes in storms, hurricanes, and the like under changing climate conditions. She recently coauthored what seems a very interesting paper on the growth of Antarctic sea ice - apparently the effect of a moderate degree of warming such as we've seen so far is to actually increase sea ice extent in the southern ocean, thanks to increased precipitation in the form of snow. Higher sea temperatures mean more evaporation of water (mostly closer to the equator) which in turn leads to higher levels of precipitation (mostly further south), and if it's cold enough to snow, then paradoxically the result is actually more ice on the water surface, not less.

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