| 14 Jun 2004 @ 17:07, by ming|
From WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Almost lost amidst the (justifiable) outrage and attention regarding the Iraqi prisoner abuses is news that a team at the University of Washington has knocked down the last scientific objection to the notion that global warming is real, and that human activity is a significant causal factor.
As reported in the May 6, 2004, issue of Nature, researchers from UW investigated why, if surface temperature records show clear signs of warming, satellite measurements of the troposphere -- the atmosphere from the ground to about 11 kilometers up -- did not. Opponents of the human-caused global warming model pointed to this contradiction as a sign that climate change wasn't real or was triggered by natural causes. According to Dr. Qiang Fu's team, cooling in the upper atmosphere -- itself a known result of greenhouse gases -- alters the satellite measurements; when that is accounted for, the troposphere data matches precisely with current models of human-caused warming.
While not good news in the "we're all going to be just fine" category, it does mean that we now have a much better understanding of the mechanisms underlying global warming, as well as confirmation that the current models work. It also means that the inevitable continued objections to doing anything about global warming have likely lost any remaining scientific credibility.
The Nature link above is to a short report; the article (linked from that page) is not freely available. Better details on the story can be found in this article from the London Times, and this release from UW, via Eurekalert.