Earlier this month, the blog Carbon Brief published the results of a study asking climatologists which research paper was the most influential in the study of climate.  The winner of the study was a 1967 paper by Syukuro Manabe and Richard. T. Wetherald, published in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences entitled ” Thermal Equilibrium of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity“.  In this paper the scientists looked at the influence of carbon dioxide and water vapor on global temperatures.

You can read more about the contents of the paper and why it was so important for climatologists here.  One of the results of the research showed that under increased carbon dioxide, the stratosphere would cool as the greenhouse gas trapped heat near the surface of the earth.  Under increased solar input, scientists expect that the atmosphere would increase temperature at all levels instead.

Recent observations have shown the cooling in the stratosphere to be significant, which gives support to the climate models suggesting the earth will warm due to increased greenhouse gases.  Studies looking temperatures from satellites average the temperatures through a deep layer of the earth’s atmosphere, and warming near the surface is somewhat balanced by cooling higher up, which makes the satellite-derived temperatures show less warming that surface observations.

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