It is frequently stated in textbooks and scholarly articles that the surface temperature of Earth is 33C warmer than it would be without the atmosphere and that this difference is due to the greenhouse effect. This Forum shows that the atmosphere effect leads to warming of only 20C. This new conclusion requires a revision to all of the relevant literature in K-12, undergraduate, and graduate education material and to science papers and reports. The greenhouse effect on Earth's surface temperature is well understood qualitatively and is regarded as basic knowledge about Earth's climate and climate change. The 33C warming has been used to quantify the greenhouse effect of greenhouse gases, or of greenhouse gases and clouds, in K-12 educational material (e.g., http://epa.gov/climatechange/kids/greenhouse.html), undergraduate freshman introductory textbooks on weather and climate [e.g., Ahrens, 2008], and graduate textbooks on climate [e.g., Peixoto and Oort, 1992]. Some textbooks and various other publications have less stringently attributed the warming to the greenhouse effect [e.g., Wallace and Hobbs, 2006; Le Treut et al., 2007; American Meteorological Society, 2000].
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)