Global greenhouse gas forcing and feedbacks are the primary causes of climate change but have limited direct observations. Here we show that continuous, stable, global, hyperspectral infrared satellite measurements (2003–2021) display decreases in outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) in the CO2, CH4, and N2O absorption bands and increases in OLR in the window band and H2O absorption bands. By conducting global line-by-line radiative transfer simulations with 2003–2021 meteorological conditions, we show that increases in CO2, CH4, and N2O concentrations caused an instantaneous radiative forcing and stratospheric cooling adjustment that decreased OLR. The climate response, comprising surface and atmospheric feedbacks to radiative forcings and unforced variability, increased OLR. The spectral trends predicted by our climate change experiments using our general circulation model identify three bedrock principles of the physics of climate change in the satellite record: an increasing greenhouse effect, stratospheric cooling, and surface-tropospheric warming.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences
- climate change
- climate model
- outgoing longwave radiation
- radiation model
- satellite observations