First detection of anthropogenic climate change

In March 1995 at a press conference in Hamburg, Germany, at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology its director Klaus Hasselmann reported the detection of the anthropogenic climate change signal at the 95 percent significance level (Hegerl et al., 1996). The basis of this statement, which soon got support from other groups, was:

Forcing a coupled atmosphere/ocean/land model by reconstructed greenhouse gas concentration time series and comparing the simulated temperature change patterns with observed ones, using the new so-called fingerprint method, similarity of the emerging change signal with the observed pattern pointed to changes going beyond natural climate variability.

Working Group I of IPCC, when meeting in Asheville, North Carolina, USA, in July 1995 for the establishment of a final draft for the Second Assessment Report (SAR) of IPCC and an overall conclusion set the stage for the leading sentence of the SAR:

The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.

This sentence became the foundation for the Conference of the Parties (COP) to UNFCCC to formulate at COP3 the Kyoto Protocol.

Five years later, end of 2000, the Third Assessment Report of IPCC has strengthened the summary concerning the detection of anthropogenic climate change by stating that new and clearer findings support that most of the warming in the recent 50 years is due to human activities.

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