The consequences will be devastating: scientists have warned mankind of an impending catastrophe
Scientists are using increasingly strong arguments to convince mankind - the problem with human-caused climate warming has grown to threatening proportions. This time they decided to display the problem of releasing excess energy in the equivalent of nuclear bombs.
As climate scientists Andrew King of the University of Melbourne and Stephen Sherwood of the Sydney Climate Change Research Centre write in their article for Science Alert, humans have emitted more than 2 trillion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere since fossil fuel production began. This has caused the average temperature on the planet to rise by 1.2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era. The reason for this is that the emissions added more carbon to the natural carbon cycle and caused an imbalance in the amount of energy entering and leaving the Earth from space.
In the last 50 years alone, humans have added the equivalent of 25 billion nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 to the Earth system. At the same time, this energy is accumulating in the world's oceans, making it very, very difficult to get rid of the excess, even if humanity takes all the necessary measures to stop the emissions.
To be fit for life, the Earth rotates in a special zone of the solar system. It is neither too hot nor too cold, water can be kept in a liquid state, and the atmosphere is permeable enough to provide an optimal level of energy exchange with the cosmos.
Thus, greenhouse gases, in the process of this exchange, are responsible for retaining heat on the Earth's surface. They are naturally present in the Earth's atmosphere and keep the planet warm enough to live on. Now, however, so many of these gases have accumulated that we risk exceeding the comfortable climatic conditions that allowed people to reproduce, farm, build cities, and create. And all because of the use of fossil fuels.
Satellites measuring the rate at which the Earth's surface radiates heat and Argo robotic floats collecting data from surface ocean waters are helping to capture this.
The effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are very powerful-even small concentrations produce a noticeable effect. And humanity has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 50 percent, as well as adding significant amounts of methane and nitrous oxide. The equilibrium of the greenhouse effect that sustains life on Earth has been threatened.
Fresh calculations by researchers show that between 1971 and 2020, the energy imbalance was equivalent to capturing approximately 380 zettajoules of additional heat.
One zettajoule equals 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules, while the estimated power of the "Kid," the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, was about 15,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules. Simple calculations show that in just half a century prior to 2020, the effect of humanity's greenhouse gas emissions was about 25 billion times greater than the energy released by the Hiroshima nuke.
To date, about 90% of this energy is known to have been absorbed by the oceans. The largest stores of excess energy are per kilometer of water column close to the surface. The water is absorbing energy beautifully and is now heating up, as can be seen by coral bleaching and rising sea levels, among other things.
Scientists point out that this stored energy may be the reason why it may be impossible to stop global warming, even with the most determined action. Some of the energy will continue to be released from the ocean.
The authors of the article warn that in order to achieve the desired effect of balancing the amount of greenhouse gases, mankind will not just have to stop emissions. Excess carbon must also be removed from the atmosphere. And to do so at a fairly rapid pace. And the reality is that we are emitting more greenhouse gases now than ever before, although there is a prospect of starting to reduce emissions from energy.
OBOZREVATEL previously told how melting permafrost in the Arctic could poison almost the entire Earth.
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