Statistical evidence about human influence on the climate system
We use recent methods for the analysis of time series data, in particular related to breaks in trends, to establish that human factors are the main contributors to the secular movements in observed global and hemispheric temperatures series. The most important feature documented is a marked increase in the growth rates of temperatures (purged from the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation) and anthropogenic greenhouse gases occurring for all series around 1955, which marks the start of sustained global warming. Also evidence shows that human interventions effectively slowed global warming in two occasions. The Montreal Protocol and the technological change in agricultural production in Asia are major drivers behind the slowdown of the warming since 1994, providing evidence about the effectiveness of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases other than CO2 for mitigating climate change in the shorter term. The largest socioeconomic disruptions, the two World Wars and the Great Crash, are shown to have contributed to the cooling in the mid 20th century. While other radiative factors have modulated their effect, the greenhouse gases defined the secular movement in both the total radiative forcing and the global and hemispheric temperature series. Deviations from this anthropogenic trend are shown to have transitory effects.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2012|
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NBER Technical Working Papers
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Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
979, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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