Climate Feedback Definition

by Laurent Cousineau
(Montreal)

A climate feedback is a process that will either amplify or reduce climate forcing.

Climate forcing, also known as radiative forcing, refers to changes in net irradiance between the different layers of the atmosphere.

These changes in irradiance (the power of electromagnetic radiation per unit area) will either cause a cooling or warming effect.

Positive Feedback Loops

There are many positive feedback loops that will accelerate global warming.

For example, as more ice melts due to global warming, there will be less sunlight reflected away (see albedo) and consequently, surface temperatures will increase.

Also, global warming will cause more wild fires which will release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which will in turn cause even more warming via the greenhouse effect.

Yet another example, as global warming melts permafrost in both Northern Canada and Siberia, huge amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, will be released into the atmosphere.

A Call to Action

Unfortunately, many people are not aware of these positive feedback loops and hence do not comprehend the gravity of the situation.

In addition, mankind is currently increasing its annual carbon dioxide emissions which will even further accelerate global warming.

Truly, we need to unite and stop climate change before we hit a point of no return.

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