|Surveyed Scientists Agree Global Warming Is Real|
97 percent of climatologists canvassed believe humans play a role
Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters
Human-induced global warming is real, according to a recent U.S. survey
based on the opinions of 3,146 scientists. However there remains divisions
between climatologists and scientists from other areas of earth sciences as to
the extent of human responsibility.
A survey of more than 3,000 scientists found that the vast majority believe
humans cause global warming.
Against a backdrop of harsh winter weather across much of North America and
Europe, the concept of rising global temperatures might seem incongruous.
However the results of the investigation conducted at the end of 2008 reveal
that vast majority of the Earth scientists surveyed agree that in the past
200-plus years, mean global temperatures have been rising and that human
activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.
The study released today was conducted by academics from the University of
Illinois, who used an online questionnaire of nine questions. The scientists
approached were listed in the 2007 edition of the American Geological
Institute's Directory of Geoscience Departments.
Two questions were key: Have mean global temperatures risen compared to
pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing
mean global temperatures?
About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second.
The strongest consensus on the causes of global warming came from climatologists
who are active in climate research, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role.
Petroleum geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with
only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in human involvement.
"The petroleum geologist response is not too surprising, but the meteorologists'
is very interesting," said Peter Doran associate professor of earth and
environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and one of the
"Most members of the public think meteorologists know climate, but most of them
actually study very short-term phenomenon."
However, Doran was not surprised by the near-unanimous agreement by
"They're the ones who study and publish on climate science. So I guess the
take-home message is, the more you know about the field of climate science, the
more you're likely to believe in global warming and humankind's contribution to it.
"The debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human
activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and
scientific basis of long-term climate processes," said Doran.