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Tue Jan 31, 2012, 05:20 PM

Global warming not caused by increased solar activity (NASA) [View all]


A new NASA study has confirmed that it's greenhouse gases - not changes in solar activity - that are the main cause of global warming


And Hansen's team has concluded that the Earth absorbed over half a watt more solar energy per square meter than it emitted throughout the six-year study period. This imbalance is more than twice as much as the fall in incoming solar energy between maximum and minimum solar activity.

"The fact that we still see a positive imbalance despite the prolonged solar minimum isn't a surprise, given what we've learned about the climate system, but it's worth noting because this provides unequivocal evidence that the sun is not the dominant driver of global warming," says James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

According to the team's calculations, the imbalance implies that carbon dioxide levels need to be reduced to about 350 parts per million to restore the energy budget to equilibrium. They're currently 392 parts per million, and scientists expect the figure to continue to rise in the future.


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