Figure 6.4. The concentrations and radiative forcing by (a) CO2, (b) CH4 and (c) nitrous oxide (N2O), and (d) the rate of change in their combined radiative forcing over the last 20 kyr reconstructed from antarctic and Greenland ice and firn data (symbols) and direct atmospheric measurements (red and magenta lines). The grey bars show the reconstructed ranges of natural variability for the past 650 kyr (Siegenthaler et al., 2005a; Spahni et al., 2005). Radiative forcing was computed with the simplified expressions of Chapter 2 (Myhre et al., 1998). The rate of change in radiative forcing (black line) was computed from spline fits (Enting, 1987) of the concentration data (black lines in panels a to c). The width of the age distribution of the bubbles in ice varies from about 20 years for sites with a high accumulation of snow such as Law Dome, Antarctica, to about 200 years for low-accumulation sites such as Dome C, Antarctica. The Law Dome ice and firn data, covering the past two millennia, and recent instrumental data have been splined with a cut-off period of 40 years, with the resulting rate of change in radiative forcing shown by the inset in (d). The arrow shows the peak in the rate of change in radiative forcing after the anthropogenic signals of CO2, CH4 and N2O have been smoothed with a model describing the enclosure process of air in ice (Spahni et al., 2003) applied for conditions at the low accumulation Dome C site for the last glacial transition. The CO2 data are from Etheridge et al. (1996); Monnin et al. (2001); Monnin et al. (2004); Siegenthaler et al. (2005b; South Pole); Siegenthaler et al. (2005a; Kohnen Station); and MacFarling Meure et al. (2006). The CH4 data are from Stauffer et al. (1985); Steele et al. (1992); Blunier et al. (1993); Dlugokencky et al. (1994); Blunier et al. (1995); Chappellaz et al. (1997); Monnin et al. (2001); Flückiger et al. (2002); and Ferretti et al. (2005). The N2O data are from Machida et al. (1995); Battle et al. (1996); Flückiger et al. (1999, 2002); and MacFarling Meure et al. (2006). Atmospheric data are from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s global air sampling network, representing global average concentrations (dry air mole fraction; Steele et al., 1992; Dlugokencky et al., 1994; Tans and Conway, 2005), and from Mauna Loa, Hawaii (Keeling and Whorf, 2005). The globally averaged data are available from http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/.