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Greenhouse gas levels are the highest in 800,000 years

Greenhouse gas levels are the highest in 800,000 years


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The greenhouse effect has always existed but is increasing since the industrial revolution, said Ángel Gómez, of the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet), who added that with this increase, an increase in temperature is taking place on the Earth's surface. , which is very slow because deep ocean water takes a long time to warm up.

Atmospheric Observatory of Izaña:

Greenhouse gases in the Izaña Atmospheric Observatory are measured continuously (24 hours a day every day of the year), and although nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) have been measured since 2007, methane and dioxide carbon have been analyzed since 1984.

Ángel Gómez has explained that although carbon monoxide (CO) is not a greenhouse gas, it influences the chemistry of methane, which it is, so that if there is more of the first there is a little more of the second.

The difference between both types of gases is important, since for the former a balance can be reached between emission and destruction, in which case the concentration of the gas would remain constant in the atmosphere, while for the latter the concentration of the gas in the atmosphere continues to grow as long as there are emissions.

This explains why the concentrations measured at the Izaña Atmospheric Observatory always increase for carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride, while the methane concentration has had periods of no growth, and that of carbon monoxide even decreases.

Emissions impact:

Ángel Gómez has indicated that the impact of the emissions of the various gases at a certain moment in the future is quantified by the Global Temperature Change Potential (GTP), which is based on the change in the Global Average Surface Temperature (GMST) caused by these emissions for different time horizons using as reference the one that causes carbon dioxide.

The Potential for Global Temperature change over a ten-year horizon for present methane emissions is almost equal to that caused by carbon dioxide emissions, but it is just over half for a twenty-year horizon, and negligible for a horizon of one hundred years, since the methane emitted one hundred years earlier will have been almost completely destroyed.

However, the GTP for present nitrous oxide emissions remains constant in these time horizons, since its half-life is long and similar to that of carbon dioxide.

The average values ​​of the background atmosphere measured at the Izaña Atmospheric Observatory during the past year showed that for every million molecules in the atmosphere, 398.6 particles were carbon dioxide, 1.86 methane, 0.3277 oxide. nitrous, 0.00000842 sulfur hexafluoride and 0.0923 carbon monoxide.

The average annual growth of carbon dioxide in the last decade has been 2.1 particles per million per year, while the increase in nitrous oxide has been 0.00089 particles per million per year and the increase in sulfur hexafluoride of 0.00000030 particles per million per year.

Water vapor (H2O) is also an important greenhouse gas, however its concentration in the atmosphere varies greatly from one place to another and also in height, since its concentration is not determined by the emissions from the evaporation of liquid water in oceans, lakes and rivers, evapotranspiration of plants and soil and others, but due to complex meteorological factors such as temperature, wind, location of storms and anticyclones.

Water vapor disappears from the atmosphere through its condensation in the form of liquid water in clouds, which is later returned to the earth's surface by precipitation in the form of rain.

Therefore, the impact of water vapor in increasing the greenhouse effect is taken into account in the form of feedback: the increase in well-mixed greenhouse gases increases the temperature of the lower atmosphere, and this increase in temperature allows that more water vapor can remain in the atmosphere.

EFE green


Video: Filling up the greenhouse! (June 2022).


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