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Oceanographers’ Proof


American oceanographers Roger Revelle and Hans Suess demonstrate that CO2 levels in the air have increased as a result of the use of fossil fuels

Roger Revelle and Hans Suess of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography publish “Carbon Dioxide Exchange Between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2 during the Past Decades.” From measuring carbon content in wood and marine material, the authors conclude that “most of the CO2 released by artificial fuel combustion since the beginning of the industrial revolution must have been absorbed by the oceans. The increase in atmospheric CO2 from this cause is at present small but may become significant during future decades if industrial fuel combustion continues to rise exponentially.” The authors observe that previous estimates about the amount of warming that would be attributable to increased CO2 releases have not taken into account feedback mechanisms that can enhance warming: “… [A]mplifying or feedback processes may exist such that a slight change in the character of the back radiation might have a more pronounced effect. Possible examples are a decrease in the albedo [reflection of solar energy] of the earth due to melting of ice caps…”* The authors note that this emerging human impact on the planet is unprecedented: “Thus human beings are now carrying out a large scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past … Within a few centuries we are returning to the atmosphere and oceans the concentrated organic carbon stored in sedimentary rocks over hundreds of millions of years. This experiment … may yield a far-reaching insight into the process determining weather and climate.”*

*Revelle, Roger, and Hans E. Suess. “Carbon Dioxide Exchange Between Atmosphere and Oceans and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2 during the Past Decades,” Tellus 9 (1957): 19-20.

  1957  /  20th Century, Science  /  Last Updated November 30, 2022 by Jennifer Linton  /  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,