Recent results from climate models have led to the prediction that a global warming due to increasing atmospheric CO2 is now imminent, if it has not already occurred. In an effort to develop more definitive information on this question, a detailed review has been conducted of prior efforts to unravel climatic change from the various types of recorded observational data available. Most of the more definitive of the prior analyses—along with evaluative comments by the various authors—have been assembled herein. There appears little doubt that the average surface air temperature of at least northern hemisphere has been increasing since the beginning of recorded data with most of the warming occurring in a brief period circa 1920. The fragmentary early data suggest significant cooling prior to 1883 such that 25–50% of the subsequent warming may represent a return to earlier levels. Whether the overall warming constitutes a climate change remains an unresolved problem, as does the cause of the warming.
Reviews of Geophysics – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 1986
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