Climate Science

Modern Warming by Proxy

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Science  22 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6122, pp. 884
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6122.884-a
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Records constructed by compiling direct measurement of surface air temperatures made at thousands of locations worldwide over the past century or so show clearly and repeatedly that climate is warming globally. Surface air temperatures for periods before direct measurements were made systematically and broadly enough to be useful on global scales are inferred from sources such as tree rings, corals, ice cores, speleothems, and marine sediments, which provide proxies for temperature. What do proxy records say about modern global warming, though? Anderson et al. present an independent record of climate warming over the past 130 years, assembled from a collection of 170 temperature-sensitive paleo proxies, which show the same warming trend as the instrumental record over the same time, including the more detailed picture of warming from around 1910 to the 1940s, the pause in temperature rise until the 1960s, and a continuation of warming from the 1960s to the present. This work validates both the modern instrumental record of temperature rise and the use of these proxies to reconstruct the temperatures of the past.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 40, 189 (2013).

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