Detection of a Human Influence on North American Climate

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Science  14 Nov 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5648, pp. 1200-1203
DOI: 10.1126/science.1089159

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Several indices of large-scale patterns of surface temperature variation were used to investigate climate change in North America over the 20th century. The observed variability of these indices was simulated well by a number of climate models. Comparison of index trends in observations and model simulations shows that North American temperature changes from 1950 to 1999 were unlikely to be due to natural climate variation alone. Observed trends over this period are consistent with simulations that include anthropogenic forcing from increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols. However, most of the observed warming from 1900 to 1949 was likely due to natural climate variation.

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