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In Search of Balance

Charlson, Robert J. and Valero, Francisco P. J. and Seinfeld, John H. (2005) In Search of Balance. Science, 308 (5723). pp. 806-807. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.1108162. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20141125-121113224

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Abstract

The climate of Earth and its global mean surface temperature are the consequence of a balance between the amount of solar radiation absorbed by Earth's surface and atmosphere and the amount of outgoing longwave radiation emitted by the system. The former is governed by the albedo (reflectivity) of the system, whereas the latter depends strongly on the atmospheric content of gases and particles (such as clouds and dust). Although the theory of absorption of infrared radiation by gases in the atmosphere (1) is well accepted and embodied in climate models, the observational and theoretical treatments of albedo, aerosols, and clouds are still under development. One brevium (2) and two reports (3, 4) in this issue report estimates of Earth's albedo and of solar radiation reaching the surface, but the uncertainties remain large. The buildup of CO_2 (5), CH_4, and other greenhouse gases during the past century has led to an increased absorption of infrared radiation in the atmosphere (enhanced greenhouse effect) and a consequent warming (“positive forcing”) of the climate. But human-made changes in aerosols and clouds can cause enhanced albedo and hence cooling (“negative forcing”), and they may already have offset a substantial part of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Present trends suggest that by 2050, the magnitude of the enhanced greenhouse effect will be so large that the net anthropogenic forcing will be unequivocally positive and substantial in magnitude (6).


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1108162DOIArticle
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5723/806PublisherArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Seinfeld, John H.0000-0003-1344-4068
Additional Information:© 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science. We thank the international modeling groups for providing their data for analysis, the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison for collecting and archiving the model data, the JSC/CLIVAR Working Group on Coupled Modelling and their Coupled Model Intercomparison Project and Climate Simulation Panel for organizing the model data analysis, and the IPCC Working Group I Technical Support Unit for technical support.The IPCC Data Archive at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:5723
DOI:10.1126/science.1108162
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141125-121113224
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20141125-121113224
Official Citation:Charlson, R. J., Valero, F. P. J., & Seinfeld, J. H. (2005). In Search of Balance. Science, 308(5723), 806-807. doi: 10.1126/science.1108162
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:52146
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Joanne McCole
Deposited On:25 Nov 2014 20:33
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:21

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