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A new reconstruction of global average surface temperature change over the past 2,000 years has identified the main causes for decade-scale climate changes. The analysis suggests that Earth's current warming rate, caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, is higher than any warming rate observed previously. The researchers also found that airborne particles from volcanic eruptions were primarily responsible for several brief episodes of global cooling prior to the Industrial Revolution of the mid-19th century.
The new temperature reconstruction also largely agrees with climate model simulations of the same time period. The researchers found agreement for temperature changes caused by identifiable factors, such as volcanic aerosols and greenhouse gases, as well as for random fluctuations in climate that take place on the same timescales. This suggests that current climate models accurately represent the contributions of various influences on global climate change—and are capable of correctly predicting future climate warming.
Research - Members - Past - Global - Changes
The research team—19 members of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) project, including University of Maryland Geology Associate Professor Michael Evans—used seven different statistical methods to perform the reconstruction. The results are published online July 24, 2019, in the journal Nature Geoscience.
"Our reconstructions look like the 'hockey stick' diagram of global temperature change that was first reconstructed more than two decades ago," said Evans, who is also co-chair of PAGES and has a joint appointment at UMD's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). "Thanks to the work of the PAGES community, we have much more data now. The results were consistent regardless of how we created the reconstructions or which randomly chosen subset of input data we used."
Reconstruction - Efforts - Database - Kind - Dataset
The new 2,000-year reconstruction improves on previous efforts by using the most detailed and comprehensive database of its kind yet assembled. This dataset, painstakingly compiled by PAGES researchers, includes nearly 700...
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