Greenhouse gases are undeniably making the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, China, a much hotter place to live, according to a new study released Friday— providing a microcosm of the effects of fossil fuels on climate around the world.
According to the study, published in late March in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters, China's daily highs have consistently risen, making both days and nights far hotter, with little to no cool-down periods or reprieve.
The unnatural warming, the scientists say, is directly related to the country's record breaking output of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
Associate Press reports:
The study by Chinese and Canadian researchers found that just because of greenhouse gases, daytime highs rose 0.9 degree Celsius (1.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in the 46 years up to 2007. At night it was even worse: Because of greenhouse gases, the daily lows went up about 1.7 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit).
"It is way above what you would expect from normal fluctuations of climate," study author Xuebin Zhang of the climate research division of Canada's environmental agency told AP in a telephone interview. "It is quite clear and can be attributed to greenhouse gases."
"The study is important because it formalizes what many scientists have been sensing as a gut instinct: that the increase in extreme heat that we've witnessed in recent decades, and especially in recent years, really cannot be dismissed as the vagaries of weather," said Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann.
China, the world's biggest producer and consumer of coal, emits more carbon dioxide than the U.S. and India combined, with emissions spiking 10 percent per year.
About 90 percent of the temperature rise seen by the researchers could be traced directly to human-made greenhouse gases, the study said.