A draft of the Climate Change Report from 13 federal agencies was leaked to the press this week. It was leaked due to fears that the facts from the report do not align with the current administration’s stance on climate change. The report is 673 pages long so I have only had time to read the executive summary. I want to mention some of the agencies that are involved in this report: US Army Corps of Engineers, National Science Foundation, NOAA, NASA, Goddard Institute, Langley Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, DOE Office of Science, and also several universities from Iowa State to Texas Tech, University of Alaska to North Carolina State. I guess the point I am making here is that these are science powerhouses and their report should carry some gravitas.
The executive summary begins with this statement, “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observable evidence.” This is very strong language for a scientific document because practically no research reaches a statistical strength of 100%.
The term high confidence is used over and over in the summary and the document continually uses the term observed evidence or observable record to remind us that their conclusion is based on real data collected by our extensive instruments across the planet and from space instruments. They take time to debunk alternative evidence for natural cycles such as solar input, volcano emissions, El Niño and other natural variabilities with observable data and evidence.
The report discusses extreme weather events, acidification of the oceans, changes in ocean circulations, decreases in soil moisture (affecting food production), melting ice, rising in global sea level (3 inches since 1993), coastal flooding, increasing temperatures in the US (1.6 F), it is a very complete report.
I know facts and evidence don’t change the mind of the ideologically driven. Deniers will claim the scientists are liberal or they manipulated the data or they are just trying to keep their big grants (as if any scientist got rich from conducting research). Still this report provides an extensive amount of observable data (not computer models) that only fools will ignore. It is sad that this scientific information will be mired in political spin. We have ignored the problem of anthropogenic climate change for far too long.