Earth Getting Wetter and Stickier, Researchers Say
LONDON - Greenhouse gases are making the earth's atmosphere wetter and stickier, which may lead to more powerful hurricanes, hotter temperatures and heavier rainfall in tropical regions, British researchers reported on Wednesday.
The findings, published in the journal Nature, are some of the first to show how human-produced greenhouse gases have affected global humidity levels in recent decades and could offer clues on future climate change, the researchers said.
Human emissions of gases such as methane and carbon dioxide that trap heat in the atmosphere are widely blamed for changes in the climate. Scientists say average global temperatures will rise by 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, causing droughts, floods and violent storms.
A computer simulation showed that natural events such as volcanoes and variations in the sun's brightness could not alone have produced the increase in humidity, and pointed to greenhouse gases generated by humans, Gillet said.
The research also provides a better understanding of potential changes in the earth's water cycle, which could result in floods and droughts that have an even bigger impact on people than rising temperatures, he added.