Publication Abstracts

Hansen et al. 1998

Hansen, J., M. Sato, J. Glascoe, and R. Ruedy, 1998: A common sense climate index: Is climate changing noticeably? Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 95, 4113-4120.

We propose an index of climate change based on practical climate indicators such as heating degree days and the frequency of intense precipitation. We find that in most regions the index is positive, the sense predicted to accompany global warming. In a few regions, especially in Asia and western North America, the index indicates that climate change should be apparent already, but in most places climate trends are too small too stand out above year-to-year variability. The climate index is strongly correlated with global surface temperature, which has increased as rapidly as projected by climate modelers in the 1980s. We argue that the global area with obvious global change will increase notably in the next few years. But we show that the growth rate of greenhouse gas climate forcing has declined in recent years, and thus there is an opportunity to keep climate change in the 21st century less than "business-as-usual" scenarios.