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Proceedings Paper

Monitoring global atmospheric constituents capable of forcing climate change
Author(s): Russell C. Schnell
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Paper Abstract

Relative to a standard one-foot diameter globe of the Earth the thickness of the atmosphere is comparable to a sheet of plastic food warp covering the globe. Within this thin, fluid membrane long established balances in chemical and radiative processes are being altered by anthropogenic activities. For instance, each year about 50% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by the combustion of fossil fuels and burning of forests remains in the atmosphere. This 1% yr-1 increase in CO2 traps solar energy leading to a rise in atmospheric temperatures known popularly as 'greenhouse warming.' Halocarbons from escaped refrigerants and other sources are destroying the stratospheric ozone layer allowing increased levels of UV to reach the Earth's surface. To monitor these changes in the atmosphere, a global network of atmospheric baseline stations tracks the health of the atmosphere. Some manned stations are in weather challenged locations such as the South Pole, Spitzbergen, Ellesmere Island and the Tibetan Plateau; others are in more benign climates such as Hawaii, Samoa, Tasmania, Reunion, and Kenya. Data from these and others stations are presented and discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 December 1999
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 3853, Environmental Monitoring and Remediation Technologies II, (21 December 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.372841
Show Author Affiliations
Russell C. Schnell, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3853:
Environmental Monitoring and Remediation Technologies II
Tuan Vo-Dinh; Robert L. Spellicy, Editor(s)

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