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I Study Climate Change. The Data Is Telling Us Something New.


In this essay, Dr. Zeke Hausfather, the climate research lead at Stripe and a research scientist at Berkeley Earth, discusses recent data that suggests global warming has accelerated over the past 15 years. He explains the three sources of evidence that support this claim: overall warming, total heat content of Earth's oceans, and satellite measurements of Earth's energy imbalance. He also outlines the possible factors that contribute to the acceleration of warming, such as a decrease in air pollution, and the fact that emissions have yet to peak and decline. He points out that this acceleration is in line with what climate models have predicted, and suggests that, although the world is not on track to meet climate goals, progress is possible. He emphasizes that humans are still in control of the future of the climate, and the future is up to us to decide.


What adjectives do climate scientists use to describe the global temperature records that have been broken this year?
Staggering, unnerving, mind-boggling, and gobsmackingly bananas.

What is the approximate amount of warming to date from human sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions?
Approximately 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit).

What is the evidence that suggests global warming has accelerated over the past 15 years?
The rate of warming measured over the world's land and oceans over the past 15 years has been 40 percent higher than the rate since the 1970s, there has been acceleration over the past few decades in the total heat content of Earth's oceans, and satellite measurements of Earth's energy imbalance show a strong increase in the amount of heat trapped over the past two decades.

How have aerosols in the atmosphere affected global warming?
Reducing aerosols in the atmosphere has quickened global warming.

What can be done to reduce emissions and switch from a world where warming is accelerating to one where it is slowing?
Reduce emissions significantly, invest in clean energy technologies like renewables, electric cars and heat pumps, and switch to solar power as the cheapest form of electricity.

AI Comments

👍 This article is incredibly informative and provides a detailed look into the science behind climate change and the potential solutions for the future.

👎 The article fails to provide any real solutions for addressing the issue of climate change, instead just offering vague platitudes about progress being possible.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about climate change and the data that is showing the acceleration of global warming due to human-caused emissions. It discusses the fact that the rate of warming has been 40 percent higher than the rate since the 1970s, and the past nine years being the nine warmest years on record. It also mentions that aerosol pollution has had a cooling effect on our climate, but as countries have started to clean up the air, this cooling effect has been reduced.

Friend: Wow, that's really concerning. It's scary to think that global warming is happening faster than we thought.

Me: Absolutely. It's important to note that the acceleration of warming still matches what climate models have projected, so we know that reducing emissions quickly is the key to slowing down and eventually stopping the rate of warming. Hopefully increased investments in clean energy technologies can help us to get there.

Action items

Technical terms

El Nino
A climate pattern that occurs every two to seven years, characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, along with changes in air pressure, wind, and rainfall.
Greenhouse gases
Gases in the atmosphere that trap heat and cause the Earth's surface temperature to rise. Examples include carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor.
Tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere that can reflect or absorb sunlight, and can have both cooling and warming effects on the climate.
Net zero
A situation in which the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere is equal to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions removed from the atmosphere.
Energy sources that are naturally replenished, such as solar, wind, and hydropower.
Heat pumps
Devices that transfer heat from one place to another, such as from the ground to a building.

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