NEW YORK, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Water vapor and clouds are major factors in Earth’s greenhouse effect but carbon dioxide will always be the ultimate culprit, a U.S. study found.
The study, conducted by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, examined the nature of Earth’s greenhouse effect, which traps and holds outgoing infrared radiation, a NASA release said Thursday.
The researchers say non-condensing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and chlorofluorocarbons are the core actors in the terrestrial greenhouse effect. Without them, scientists say, water vapor and clouds alone would not create the feedback mechanisms that amplify the greenhouse effect.
The study, lead author Andrew Lacis says, demonstrates “the direct relationship that exists between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising global temperature.”
“The bottom line is that atmospheric carbon dioxide acts as a thermostat in regulating the temperature of Earth,” Lacis said. “It is not surprising then that global warming can be linked directly to the observed increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and to human industrial activity in general.”
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