Is climate warming backed by science, driven by perception or just myth?

(3.5 mins read)

responding to question posed by a reader based in Singapore

Summary: Majority of actively publishing climate scientists agreed that, based on scientific records available, humans are causing global warming and climate change. Most of the leading science organizations around the world have issued public statements expressing this, including international and U.S. science academies, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a whole host of reputable scientific bodies around the world. A list of these organisations is provided here. There is still ongoing debate whether the consensus among the scientist is 97%, or closer to 80-90% which still represented majority of the scientific community. (Read on for more.)


With the conclusion of Cope 26, world leaders and politicians signed up on new agreement -finalised language concerning temperature rise and fossil fuels, money and carbon markets…..whether the developed world should pay liabilities to the developing world for climate crisis impacts and the rules of carbon markets

There are still questions whether climate warming is supported by scientists and backed by data. While the question of how (or whether) we should respond to climate change ultimately is a matter for policymakers to decide, I would agree that politics cannot (and should not) be separated from good science. So let us see what the scientists have to say…

The claim of 97% consensus among global scientists that humans are the cause of global warming, has been widely made in climate change literature and by political figures. It has been heavily publicized, often in the form of pie charts, as illustrated by this figure from the Consensus Project.

But, the 97% figure has been disputed and there is data to suggest that support from the actual scientific community is lower. Most studies including specialties other than climatologists find support in the range of 80% to 90%. Even among the publishing climate scientists, support level ranged from 90%–100%. (read more), so 97% number may be overstated ?

Most agreed to consensus of over 80% supporting rapid rise of earth surface temperature, by reputed scientific societies including NASA and 18 American Scientific Association, Royal Society UK, China Association for Science & Technology, Global scientist list among others.

So what kind of data were bring tracked to show climate is changing and its effect?
(watch video on The Greenhouse Effect):
1. Global temperature rise – The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (1.18 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century
2. Warming ocean – The ocean absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 100 meters (of ocean showing warming of more than 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.33 degrees Celsius) since 1969.

Data: Increase in CO2 concentration and Earth’s surface temperature rise

3. Shrinking ice sheets – The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. NASA’s data show Greenland lost an average of 279 billion tons of ice per year, while Antarctica lost about 148 billion tons of ice per year, between 1993 and 2019

4. Glacier retreat – Glaciers are retreating around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska, and Africa.

5. Decreased snow cover – Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and the snow is melting earlier.

6. Sea level rise – Global sea level rose about 8 inches (20 cm) in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century and accelerating slightly every year.

7. Declining Arctic sea ice – Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact impact of climate change in the coming decade, and how effective the mitigation effort by national leaders, businesses, scientists and activists will be. We can however conclude that the evidence of rapid warming of global climate,  is well supported by majority of  climate scientists based on scientific data, requiring collective and immediate action by political leaders, corporations and individuals.

Recommended readings : Expert credibility in climate change (National Academy of Science)

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