External Control of 20th Century Temperature by Natural and Anthropogenic Forcings

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Science  15 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5499, pp. 2133-2137
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5499.2133

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A comparison of observations with simulations of a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model shows that both natural and anthropogenic factors have contributed significantly to 20th century temperature changes. The model successfully simulates global mean and large-scale land temperature variations, indicating that the climate response on these scales is strongly influenced by external factors. More than 80% of observed multidecadal-scale global mean temperature variations and more than 60% of 10- to 50-year land temperature variations are due to changes in external forcings. Anthropogenic global warming under a standard emissions scenario is predicted to continue at a rate similar to that observed in recent decades.

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