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"The debate about whether there is a global warming signal now is over, at least for rational people," said Tim Barnett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. "The models got it right. If a politician stands up and says the uncertainty is too great to believe these models, that is no longer tenable."
In the study, Dr Barnett’s team examined more than seven million observations of temperature, salinity and other variables in the world’s oceans, collected by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and compared the patterns with those that are predicted by computer models of various potential causes of climate change.
It found that natural variation in the Earth’s climate, or changes in solar activity or volcanic eruptions, which have been suggested as alternative explanations for rising temperatures, could not explain the data collected in the real world. Models based on man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, however, matched the observations almost precisely.