It's confirmed - global temperatures are soaring

The 'hockey stick graph' helped frame the modern environment movement, and illustrated how human emissions of Greenhouse Gases were warming the planet. (Gallo)

The 'hockey stick graph' helped frame the modern environment movement, and illustrated how human emissions of Greenhouse Gases were warming the planet. (Gallo)

Researchers in 24 countries working for the last seven years have confirmed the findings of the famous 1998 "hockey stick" graph.

The graph, published by Dr Michael Mann and a team of climate scientists, was the first time the rapid increases in recent temperatures was charted.

It helped frame the modern environment movement, and illustrated how human emissions of Greenhouse Gases were warming the planet.     

The graph showed global temperatures over the last thousand years, and how the warming in the last century was unprecedented.

The line has a gradual downward trajectory until the late 1800s – when the Industrial Revolution started the large-scale release of Greenhouse Gases into the atmosphere – at which point it rapidly increases.  

The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience​, is based on 511 climate archives from around the world. All the data has been freely released. 

It also dismissed the often-quoted "Medieval Warm Period" or "Little Ice Age" as local temperature fluctuations that had no global impact.

Sceptics use these as simple examples to prove that there were temperature variations in the past and there was a much hotter period.

They ignore the fact that these "hockey stick" graphs talk about an increase in global temperatures. All these minor trends also stopped with the recent accelerated warming period.    

Generally, the last two millennia saw a general cooling trend, but "recent warming reversed the long-term cooling", it said.  

 
Sipho Kings

Sipho Kings

Sipho Kings is the person the Mail & Guardian sends to places when people’s environment is collapsing. This leads him from mine dumps to sewage flowing down streets – a hazardous task for his trusty pair of work shoes. Having followed his development-minded parents around Southern Africa his first port of call for reporting on the environment is people on the ground. When things go wrong – when harvests collapse and water dries up – they have limited resources to adapt, which people can never let politicians forget. For the rest of the time he tries to avoid the boggling extremes of corporations and environmental organisations, and rather looks for that fabled 'truth' thing. For Christmas he wants a global agreement where humanity accepts that sustainable development is the way forward. And maybe for all the vested interest to stop being so extreme. And world peace. And a sturdier pair of shoes. Read more from Sipho Kings

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