According to Fox News on Friday, the Earth has changed in “unprecedented ways” since 1950, the U.N. says, and its scientists are 95 percent certain that humans are responsible.
Global surface temperatures rose rapidly during the 70s, but have been relatively flat over the past decade and a half, rising only 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit per decade according to data from the U.K.’s weather-watching Met Office. This trend has shown current models of the world’s climate that scientists have been unable to predict. A draft of the report leaked in early September acknowledged that trend and put it bluntly: We simply can’t explain it.
A final version of the report released Friday morning by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) strips out the failure of models and explains away the downward trend.
Climate scientists are 95% confident -- that is to say, surer than ever -- that humans are responsible for at least "half of the observed increase in global average surface temperatures since the 1950s."
This is the major headline from the report, as it marks a stark spike in confidence over the last 12 years, as scientists were 90% confident in 2007 and 66% confident in 2001 of the same conclusion.
Climate skeptics have seized upon the change in world weather patterns, some citing it as evidence that global warming itself has decelerated or even stopped. Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the slowdown was a far larger issue than the report shows.
Going well beyond its four previous analyses of the emissions problem, the panel endorsed a “carbon budget” for humanity — a limit on the amount of the primary greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, that can be produced by industrial activities and the clearing of forests.
While it's difficult to determine the exact role climate change plays in an individual event, such as Hurricane Sandy or the EF-5 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, because there are so many ingredients necessary to brew a single storm, the links are clearer when you look at overall patterns. However, according to a study released this month in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, scientists found strong links between global warming and extreme weather around the globe in 2012.