Climate Challenge Week: Global effects of change in air composition

Answering common questions about climate change each day of Earth Week

This Earth Week, we're addressing common global warming questions each day.

Happy Earth Week!

Teaming up with NBC’s Climate Challenge week, Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross will answer the most-asked questions about climate change all week long.

On Tuesday, we’re addressing how the changes in the composition of the earth’s atmosphere has impacted the planet over the years -- specifically how heat-trapping gases are affecting Earth.

Since 1880, the planet’s average temperature has warmed significantly since the beginning of the industrial revolution. You can see this warming on several graphs shown in the video above.

But the earth’s atmosphere isn’t the only thing warming up -- ocean temperatures have also been on the rise since 1901. Virtually the entire planet’s oceans are seeing significant warming. In fact, 93 percent of the earth’s atmospheric warming is being absorbed into the oceans.

The combination of melting ice sheets and warming ocean waters is increasing sea levels. Of course there are ups and downs in the data, but throughout the 20th century, the earth has seen a sharp increase unlike anything we’ve seen in the past two millennia.

Watch the full report in the video above.

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About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.