Detecting Climate Change due to Increasing Carbon Dioxide

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Science  15 Aug 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4458, pp. 763-768
DOI: 10.1126/science.209.4458.763


The observed interannual variability of temperature at 60°N has been investigated. The results indicate that the surface warming due to increased carbon dioxide which is predicted by three-dimensional climate models should be detectable now. It is not, possibly because the predicted warming is being delayed more than a decade by ocean thermal inertia, or because there is a compensating cooling due to other factors. Further consideration of the uncertainties in model predictions and of the likely delays introduced by ocean thermal inertia extends the range of time for the detection of warming, if it occurs, to the year 2000. The effects of increasing carbon dioxide should be looked for in several variables simultaneously in order to minimize the ambiguities that could result from unrecognized compensating cooling.

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