Team of Scientists Sees Substantial Warming of Earth
Published: April 16, 1990
Analysis of Geologic Records
The authors of the report said they had a high degree of confidence that the earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere would warm by 2.7 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. While the models show there is likely to be increased drought at mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, the available data permit only relatively low confidence in this finding, the report said.
In the last 100 years, the temperature of the globe has gone up by three-tenths of a degree to 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit, a range consistent with the climate models, the report said. But it also said it cannot be determined at this point how much of that increase can be attributed to greenhouse gases.
The report noted, however, that an analysis of the geologic records of prehistoric epochs shows that the correlation of increases of carbon dioxide in the air with temperature changes is similar to the predictions of the computer models.
Richard S. Lindzen, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has been one of the most vocal critics of the conclusions of the climate models, said he had not seen the draft report. But when told of its findings, he said, ”The conclusions sound off the wall to me.”
Mr. Lindzen said there are still so many uncertainties in the models, including the role of increased cloud formation and water vapor as a result of warmer temperature, that they cannot accurately forecast what will happen in the next century.