Anthropogenic Albedo Changes and the Earth's Climate

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Science  21 Dec 1979:
Vol. 206, Issue 4425, pp. 1363-1368
DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4425.1363


The human species has been altering the environment over large geographic areas since the domestication of fire, plants, and animals. The progression from hunter to farmer to technologist has increased the variety and pace more than the geographic extent of human impact on the environment. A number of regions of the earth have experienced significant climatic changes closely related in time to anthropogenic environmental changes. Plausible physical models suggest a causal connection. The magnitudes of probable anthropogenic global albedo changes over the past millennia (and particularly over the past 25 years) are estimated. The results suggest that humans have made substantial contributions to global climate changes during the past several millennia, and perhaps over the past million years; further such changes are now under way.

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