Emissions, Concentrations, & Temperature: A Time Series Analysis

We use recent advances in time series econometrics to estimate the relation among emissions of CO2 and CH4, the concentration of these gases, and global surface temperature. These models are estimated and specified to answer two questions; (1) does human activity affect global surface temperature and; (2) does global surface temperature affect the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and/or methane. Regression results provide direct evidence for a statistically meaningful relation between radiative forcing and global surface temperature. A simple model based on these results indicates that greenhouse gases and anthropogenic sulfur emissions are largely responsible for the change in temperature over the last 130 years. The regression results also indicate that increases in surface temperature since 1870 have changed the flow of carbon dioxide to and from the atmosphere in a way that increases its atmospheric concentration. Finally, the regression results for methane hint that higher temperatures may increase its atmospheric concentration, but this effect is not estimated precisely.



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