Global warming is a climatic process, which is related to what seems to be ‘an insignificant increase of global temperature’. At glance the difference seems trivial indeed – Earth’s mean surface temperature has increased by some 0.8 since the early 20th century, however, this has triggered a chain reaction and contributed to glacier melting in the Arctic and the Antarctic Penninsula. This, in turn, is leading to the increase of the ocean heat content, which spurs a whole new series of climatic changes. Most of these changes are believed to be human-induced and are most typically contributed to deforestation and carbon dioxide emissions.
There is plenty of research on Global Warming issues, however, scholar’s over the world are far from unanimity on its root causes and ways of prevention. Most scientists, with a 90% probability, tend to agree, that it is a process that is directly related to human activity. To substantiate their claim, they pull out the so-called ‘hockey stick’ graph, which was first introduced by Michael Mann in 1998 and is since widely used by world’s climatologists.
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The graph reads as follows: during the last nine centuries, global temperature has remained relatively unchanged (which is likened to the shaft of the stick), while during the last century (with the advent of the industrial revolution) the graph curve escalated dramatically (the part that resembles the blade). Such arguments look quite convincing if you compare temperature fluctuations during the nine-hundred-year span to those of the last century.
The hockey stick graph has also spurred debate on the validity of the datasets and their interpretation and has lead to the so-called ‘hockey stick controversy’, in which some environmental scientists questioned data and methods used by Michael Mann. Mann’s model ended up being reviewed and analyzed by the National Academic of Sciences, who supported Mann’s initial hypothesis, saying that current temperature levels were unprecedented until at least 1000 years. In years that followed, this model was tested by other scholars who used more sophisticated data sets and statistical methods, - and they too confirmed that Mann’s initial model was accurate. More sophisticated data sets and improved methods of research were able to extend the ‘hockey shaft’ as far as 11000 years back, only confirming the initial hypothesis – global warming is a result of human irresponsibility.
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