Author(s): Hansen J, Sato M, Ruedy R, Lo K, Lea DW,
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Abstract Global surface temperature has increased approximately 0.2 degrees C per decade in the past 30 years, similar to the warming rate predicted in the 1980s in initial global climate model simulations with transient greenhouse gas changes. Warming is larger in the Western Equatorial Pacific than in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific over the past century, and we suggest that the increased West-East temperature gradient may have increased the likelihood of strong El Niños, such as those of 1983 and 1998. Comparison of measured sea surface temperatures in the Western Pacific with paleoclimate data suggests that this critical ocean region, and probably the planet as a whole, is approximately as warm now as at the Holocene maximum and within approximately 1 degrees C of the maximum temperature of the past million years. We conclude that global warming of more than approximately 1 degrees C, relative to 2000, will constitute "dangerous" climate change as judged from likely effects on sea level and extermination of species.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change