With the Earth warming, it's getting more difficult for others to deny the reality of climate change.

    MAINE, Maine — The Earth is warming. At this point very few people, even in the depths of the internet, deny this fact. But what I still hear over and over is, “How do we know it’s us? How do we know this is not just a natural cycle?”

    I get it. After all, at one point Manhattan was under a mile of ice. Climate change has happened before.

    But scientists have been sure since about the 1960s that this change in the climate is being caused by humans.

    So how do we know?

    The sun

    Let’s start with the most obvious possible driver for warming the Earth: the sun. There are a few reasons we know the sun is not responsible for our recent warming. First, the measure of the incoming sun energy to the Earth, called solar irradiance, has remained flat or actually decreased as our temperatures have rapidly increased. This has been especially evident since the 1970s.

    In addition, the air higher in the atmosphere, known as the stratosphere, has been cooling since the late 1970s.

    That stratospheric cooling has been taking place while the troposphere, where we live, has been warming rapidly.

    Think about it: If it was the sun, how could the layer closer to the sun cool while the layer beneath it warmed rapidly? The answer is it’s not possible. That’s how we’ve eliminated not only the sun but any external influences.

    Carbon dioxide

    Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We’ve known that since the 1850s. And since then, we’ve known that greenhouse gases trap warmth in the lower part of the atmosphere. Generally, this has a positive effect for life on Earth, as it keeps the planet habitable.

    But too much of a good thing can have negative impacts. Using ice cores that contain trapped air bubbles from hundreds of thousands of years ago, scientists have recreated the history of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and the graph is striking.

    So while there have certainly been natural variations in carbon dioxide in the past, nothing approaches the scale and speed of our recent run-up to over 400 parts per million.

    Ok, but maybe the extra carbon dioxide is from natural sources like plants and the ocean? What if I told you we caught fossil fuels red-handed with a fingerprint?

    There are three naturally-occurring carbon isotopes on Earth, C12, C13, and C14, the last of which decays to nitrogen with a half-life of about 6,000 years. 

    Why does this matter? Well, carbon from fossil fuels has been in the ground for so long that the C14 isotopes are almost entirely gone. So, by measuring the ratio of C14 in the atmosphere over time and watching it rapidly decrease scientists can easily conclude that not only is C02 increasing, but C02 is coming from the burning of fossil fuels. This phenomenon is called The Suess Effect.

    Since CO2 is a greenhouse gas, greenhouse gases warm our atmosphere, and fossil fuels have added CO2 to the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate, it’s pretty much a 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 equation.

    The speed of warmig

    Although the climate has changed in the past, it has never warmed or cooled at this speed.

    Now you might say, how do we know what the temperature was so long ago before thermometers? Scientists use a complex process of temperature proxies including something we see a lot here in Maine ... snow. There are measurable chemical differences in snow formed at different temperatures. Therefore, ice cores can be used to provide a record of temperature going back around 250,000 years.

    In addition, yearly banding is found in fossilized corals and lake sediment. Each band has a chemistry that reflects specific temperature ranges. Tree rings are also used, as they get wider or thinner based on temperature.

    So scientists can say with a relatively high degree of confidence the Earth has never warmed this quickly before.

    Put this all together, and there’s only one scientific conclusion to come to. Human activity is responsible for the vast majority of warming that has occurred on this planet since the 1880s.

    More NEWS CENTER Maine stories. 

    How do we know that climate change is not natural?
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    Does PF Chang's use MSG in their food?
    We do not use any MSG in our food. more
    What does the Ronin charm do?
    This charm has two unique perks, which are: Spirit Bear: a perk that transforms the Ronin's spirit animal from a wolf to a bear. Healing spirit: a perk that surrounds the ronin's spirit animal with a healing incense, which heals all allies in its radius. more
    What was Elsa's last words on 1883?
    Elsa Dutton and James Dutton seemingly sat for hours beneath the tree in 1883 episode 10. It's clear to both of them that Elsa will die under that tree. When she finally starts to go, she has a few final words for her father after seeing a bird. “You birds sure are smart,” Elsa says to the bird. more
    Who is jaylyn Chang?
    Jaylyn Chang is a gospel singer with Urban Pilgrims Church. She was born in South Korea and came to the USA to pursue music. She was a student at the same institute that Paak was a teaching assistant at and it didn't take long for love to blossom between the two. more
    Why do Bulldogs choke?
    Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome These dogs are born with a soft palate that obstructs airflow into their lungs. Your bulldog will have difficulty in breathing and will retch or gag especially while swallowing. more
    Is PF Chang's better than Panda Express?
    If you like yours on the sweeter side, you may find P.F. Chang's meal to be just right. If you favor more of a spicy or tangy taste, you'd probably enjoy the other two. With a winning combination of sweet, tangy, and umami, Panda Express is clearly the expert when it comes to this iconic dish. more
    How much do you get for 1 million views on TikTok?
    TikTok pays content creators $0.02–$0.04 per every 1,000 views. This means you'll get about $15 for 500,000 views and $40-$50 for 1 million views. It sounds insane—we know—especially when compared to YouTube, which pays between $2,000 and $4,000 for a million views. more
    What language do Wookies speak?
    Shyriiwook They have three different languages. Chewbacca speaks a dialect called Shyriiwook, while other Wookiees may speak either Thykarann or Xaczik. Shyriiwook is the most common to understand, however, as both Han Solo and Rey can decipher Chewie's grunts. more
    How long should you hold your bearded dragon?
    You can hold a bearded dragon for as long as it will tolerate being held. Start with 15 minutes once a day and as it gets used to being handled, you can hold it longer. Some dragons enjoy being held several times a day for several hours. When the beardie becomes restless, it is time to put him back. more
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    Coyotes are also territorial. The pair howls and yips to let other coyotes know that they have an established territory and not to intrude. more

    Source: www.khou.com

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