Water vapour responsible for a third of global warming

Scientists admit that water vapour affects global warming more than they realised

Ice melting - World News - Marie Claire
Ice melting - World News - Marie Claire
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Scientists admit that water vapour affects global warming more than they realised

Water, water, everywhere - and it seems it's causing more problems than scientists first realised, as new research indicates that water vapour is a major cause of global warming and cooling.

Water vapour is an important greenhouse gas, like methane and carbon dioxide, it absorbs heat from the sun that would otherwise be reflected back into space, keeping the planet warm.

The latest study reveals that a 10% drop in humidity 10 miles about the earth's surface explains why global temperatures have been stable since the start of the century, despite the rise in carbon dioxide.

Observations show that ‘stratospheric water vapour' increased in the 1980's and 1980's accelerating the rate of global warming by around 30% before dropping after 2000.

Scientists have faced a backlash where they have been asked to defend earlier inaccurate predictions, such as false claims that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035.

There has also been serious concern after scientists from the University of East Anglia tried to prevent the release of data requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Susan Solomon, leading the study said, ‘It shows that we shouldn't over-interpret the results from a few years one way or another.'


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