New research from McGill University (Quebec) all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the Earth's climate.
The study, which was led by physics professor Shaun Lovejoy, analyzed temperature data going back to 1500 and applied a statistical methodology to determine the probability that global warming since 1880 was due to natural variability.
The study concludes that the natural-warming hypothesis for the industrial era can be ruled out with confidence levels most likely greater than 99.9 percent.
In order to come to this conclusion, Lovejoy used "multi-proxy" climate reconstructions before and after human interference.
While this study does not make use of climate models, which are commonly used by scientists to estimate future climate change, Lovejoy's findings do indicate that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would cause the climate to warm between 2.5 and 4.5 degrees celsius, which is within the range of the latest IPCC estimates.
There is a brief summary of the study in Eurekalert
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