UMBC's Ryan Kramer confirms human-caused climate change with direct evidence for the first time.
A new analysis based on 16 years of observational data confirms that humans are heating the planet—a fact that had previously been inferred from climate models but not yet shown through direct evidence. Ryan Kramer, assistant research scientist at UMBC’s Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, led the research, which was published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Kramer and colleagues analyzed atmospheric data collected continuously by NASA’s CERES mission from 2003 to 2018. They were able to show that a portion of the energy being trapped inside Earth’s atmosphere and causing warming is directly attributable to human activities.
The new analysis, and the novel technique Kramer employed to complete it, will create opportunities to compare and improve climate models and to track climate change mitigation efforts in nearly real time.
Many factors, one main culprit: Humans
CERES tracks changes in radiation (energy) entering and exiting Earth’s atmosphere, but doesn’t parse out exactly what’s causing the changes. Kramer did that with a technique called “radiative kernels.” Atmospheric scientists often apply these “kernels” to climate models, he says, but they’ve used them with observational data very rarely, and never before in this context.