An international team of scientists, led by Associate Professor Nerilie Abram from the Australian National University, have analysed detailed reconstructions of climate going back 500 years. To their surprise, they’ve found that the current global warming trend began in the 1830s, further confirming that it is an anthropogenic, or human-induced, phenomenon. The study was published today in Nature.Co-researcher Dr Helen McGregor, an earth sciences expert from the University of Wollongong, tells SBS Science the findings have a major impact on our understanding of how climate change works.“If we know when global warming started, we know what the actual rates of warming are and we know when our climate is emerging above natural variability,” McGregor explains.
Dr McGregor says the study provides new, independent proof that climate change is indeed caused by human activity.“One thing that our study provides is that it’s an alternative line of evidence,” she explains. “We’re not using thermometers and satellite records, we’re using natural archives of climate, so it’s a completely independent source of information that shows that climate change and warming is occurring.“The central tenet of climate change, that the planet is warming, doesn’t change.”