Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Water vapor in stratosphere plays role in climate

Date:
September 30, 2013
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
Water vapor changes in the stratosphere contribute to warmer temperatures and likely play an important role in the evolution of Earth’s climate, according to new research.

Water vapor changes in the stratosphere contribute to warmer temperatures and likely play an important role in the evolution of Earth's climate, says a research team led by a Texas A&M University professor.

Andrew Dessler, a Texas A&M atmospheric sciences professor, and colleagues from the University of Colorado, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the Science and Technology Corp. have had their findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers found that increased surface temperatures, such as from the addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, leads to increased humidity in the stratosphere. Because stratospheric water vapor is a greenhouse gas, this leads to additional warming, they said. This cycle is frequently called a climate feedback.

"We find that this stratospheric water vapor feedback is probably responsible for 5-10 percent of the total warming you get from adding carbon dioxide to the climate," Dessler explained. "While it's not really surprising that this process is going on, we were surprised at how important the process is for our climate system."

Climate models already include this process, but unevenly. Some models predict large increases in stratospheric humidity, while others don't, the researchers say.

"It's clear to us that, if models want to make accurate predictions of climate change, they should get stratospheric water vapor right," said Sean Davis, a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder and study coauthor. He added, "A better understanding of the stratospheric water vapor feedback could help explain some of the spread among predictions of future climate change from different models," referring to the projections made by the recently released 5th Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last week. Several years ago, Dessler was the first to observationally calculate the strength of the cloud feedback, showing that clouds play a key role in climate change.

The researchers used water vapor measurements from the Microwave Limb Sounder on board NASA's Aura satellite. It also used simulations from NASA's Goddard Earth Observing System Chemistry Climate Model. The project was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

A short video explaining the feedback process can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDI8DkyqA74&feature=youtu.be


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. E. Dessler, M. R. Schoeberl, T. Wang, S. M. Davis, and K. H. Rosenlof. Stratospheric water vapor feedback. PNAS, September 30, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1310344110

Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Water vapor in stratosphere plays role in climate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930161525.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2013, September 30). Water vapor in stratosphere plays role in climate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930161525.htm
Texas A&M University. "Water vapor in stratosphere plays role in climate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130930161525.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Rescuers were forced to suspend plans to recover at least two dozen bodies from near the summit of Mount Ontake in central Japan on Tuesday after increased seismic activity raised concern about the possibility of another eruption. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins