Over the past decade or so the problem of climate changes has been in the focus of practically everyone's attention-from scientists to laymen. Taking part in disputes on this vital subject have been not only experts, but also politicians of the highest rank. Our correspondent Rudolf Balandin has been able to interview Acad. Yuri Izrael, Deputy Chairman of the Intergovernmental team of experts investigating the problem of climate changes. We now reproduce this interview:
Mathematical models of global climate dynamics without taking into account technogenic factors (a) and taking them into account (b) in comparison with the real changes observed.
- Yuri Antonievich, how true is the claim that it is us, people, who have precipitated the global warming?
- In fact, the situation is not as simple as it appears at first sight. Major climate changes are produced by natural causes and these are not easily distinguished from those resulting from human activities. According to information provided by the Intergovernmental team of experts, during the 20th century the mean global temperature at the surface of the earth rose by 0.6 +/- 0.2°C. This has been accompanied by rising levels in the atmosphere of what are called hothouse gases which "lock up" the infrared heat of reflected solar radiation. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and tropospheric ozone. These are produced by the burning of organic fuels or in the course of farming activities. According to mathematical modeling results, the currently observed climate warming can be most accurately described only if both the natural and the anthropogenic factors are taken into account.
- The latter are usually described almost exclusively as industrial discharges of carbon dioxide?
- Their volume is really great and keeps growing. But there are also other gases which provide no small contribution to this process. For example, the growing levels in the atmosphere of nitrous oxide, conne ... Read more