A recent study published in Nature points to man-made influences as being major contributors to worsening . So much so, in fact, that everyday weather patterns can now be linked to climate change. Although there has been plenty of debate over just how much mankind has accelerated climate change, this new study reveals that rising global temperatures are now distinguishable from natural variability. Meaning, there is a human component to climate change and both short- and long-term weather patterns prove it. 

Earth’s Constant Climate Change 

If you have done your research on climate change, you already know that Earth’s weather patterns and climate cycles have always been in a constant state of flux. According to NASA, in the last 650,000 years, there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat. Even carbon dioxide levels have undergone dramatic shifts over the last 800,000 years.  

Earth has never remained in a stagnant state. Climate change has, in some form or another, always existed. A lot of the climate change patterns we are witnessing today are nothing new. The problem is, these changes have occurred at a rapid pace and at such an intensity that there is too much evidence to ignore that man-made climate change is no longer a question of if, but how much. Mankind has aggravated Earth’s natural climate cycles and we finally have scientific data to prove it.  

Today, carbon dioxide levels exceed 400 parts per million, far surpassing levels seen in the 1950s which hovered around 300 parts per million. Additionally, global temperatures have risen by over 1.6 degrees since the 19th century. 2016 was also the hottest year on record to date. 

: “Almost Entirely Human” 

Climate change can not only be seen in the statistics, but researchers are also now saying that climate change can be seen in daily weather patterns. The weather and climate change are now so intrinsically linked that researchers are claiming that the long-term climate trend in global average temperatures can be predicted if you know a single day’s weather information worldwide. 

Essentially, weather has always differed from climate. Weather describes a state of the atmosphere, such as hot, cold, wet, or dry. Whereas climate refers to the weather conditions persistent in a certain area over a long period of time. According to new research, this is no longer true on a global scale. 

Reto Knutti of ETH Zurich, one of the leading researchers on the study in Nature, and his team came to these conclusions by identifying long-term changes in global temperatures. Using machine learning, researchers sought to estimate how temperature patterns and moisture levels on daily, weekly, and yearly timelines compare to two metrics: global average surface temperatures and imbalances on Earth, which are caused by greenhouse gases. 

Through these means, Knutti and his team found that the relationships between these factors points to human-caused climate change. Knutti spoke to the Washington Post stating that “we know from many other studies that the warming in the last 40 years is almost entirely human.” 

Hope for the Future? 

In regard to the study, expert on climate change, Michael Wehner from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, noted that the results are “profoundly disturbing” and that “Earth is on track for significantly more warming in even the most optimistic future scenarios.” 

These findings may come to some as no surprise, but they are nevertheless difficult to digest. Hearing some of the most brilliant scientists from around the world recite dismal sentiments about the future does little to inspire hope. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find any climate change scientists that don’t link global warming and other events to mankind. 

According to NASA’s statistics, 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change and global warming trends over the last century are more than likely due to human activities.  

The good news is, if mankind is the problem, it means we are also the solution. If we created climate change, it means we can heal it. Unless the global collective of humanity can take full accountability, however, we won’t get very far. 

Resources: 

NASA 

Washington Post 

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