The planet is getting warmer, that’s no secret, but many skeptics express doubt about whether human activities are to blame for these increasingly warm temperatures. Here to answer that question is the Climate Science Special Report, the US’s most comprehensive report on current climate science. To put it simply, this report — using existing scientific data about the issue — says it is ‘extremely likely’ that humans are to blame for our warming planet.
Climate change is the result of increasingly warmer average temperatures. Many misconceptions, conspiracy theories, and utter nonsense about it exist, hampering efforts across the globe to address the issue. The Climate Science Special Report is a good place to go if you’re looking for actual scientific information about the warming, though it is quite a substantial read.
Overall, the global average annual surface air temperature has increased approximately 1.8F over the past 115 years, making this the warmest ever period in modern civilization. Furthermore, the last three years now hold the record as being the warmest ever recorded for the entire globe, a reality underscored by increasingly severe weather. Scientists expect these trends will continue into the future.
Putting it bluntly, the report find that humans are most likely the cause of this warming — or, better put, human activities are behind the warming. This is based on thousands of studies from researchers around the globe who have studied temperature changes across the ocean, air, and land, as well as decreasing snow cover, melting glaciers, decreased sea ice levels, increased sea levels, increasingly severe ocean acidification, growing atmospheric water vapor, and more.
A substantial portion of observed changes caused by a warming planet have been made in the past couple decades. For example, sea levels have increased about 3 inches since 1993, nearly half of the estimated 7 – 8-inches the average global sea level has increased since the year 1900.
Though the change seems small, its effects are already profound. For example, 25 cities in the Gulf and Atlantic coasts have experienced increasingly frequent daily tidal flooding. The rapidly growing sea level will cause an increase of several or more inches over the next 15 years and could be as severe as another 4ft by the year 2100, though some researchers believe that in a worst-case scenario, the oceans could rise by up to 8ft in less than 100 years.
These details are a tiny portion of everything contained in the new report, which you can read for yourself here. If you don’t have time to read the entire report right now, you can also find a detailed summary of the findings here.