decades. The Earth's average near-surface atmospheric temperature rose 0.6 ±0.2 °Celsius(1.1 ± 0.4 °Fahrenheit) in the 20th century.The currentscientific consensusis that "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely tohave beenattributable to human activities". The extent of this consensus was the subject of a study— published in December 2004 in the journal
—that considered the abstracts of 928 refereedscientific articles in theISI citation databaseidentified with the keywords "global climate change". Thisstudy concluded that 75% of the 928 articles either explicitly or implicitly accepted the consensus view — the remainder of the articles covered methods or paleoclimate and did not take any stance on recentclimate change.The primary causes of the human-induced component of warming are the increased amounts of carbondioxide(CO
in the atmosphere. The2001 IPCC reportestimates a likelyhood between 66% and 90% for a climate sensitivity in the range 1.5– 4.5 °C (2.7–8.1 °F). This should not be confused with the expected temperature change by a given date,which also includes a dependence on the future GHG emissions and a delayed response due to thermal lag, principally from the oceans. Models referenced by theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), using a range of SRES scenarios, project that global temperatures will increase between 1.4 and5.8 °C (2.5 to 10.5 °F) between 1990 and 2100.An increase in global temperatures can in turn cause other changes, including arising sea levelandchanges in the amount and pattern of precipitation.These changes may increase the frequency andintensity of extreme weather events, such asfloods,droughts,heat waves,hurricanes, andtornados. Other consequences include higher or lower agricultural yields,glacial retreat,reduced summer stream flows,speciesextinctionsand increases in the ranges of diseasevectors. Warming is expected to affect thenumber and magnitude of these events; however, it is difficult to connect particular events to globalwarming. Although most studies focus on the period up to 2100, warming (and sea level rise due tothermal expansion) is expected to continue past then, since CO
Two millennia of mean surface temperatures according to different reconstructions, each smoothed on adecadal scale. The unsmoothed, annual value for 2004 is also plotted for reference.Relative to the period 1860–1900, global temperatures on both land and sea have increased by 0.75 °C(1.4 °F), according to theinstrumental temperature record. Since 1979, land temperatures have increasedabout twice as fast as ocean temperatures (0.25 °C/decade against 0.13 °C/decade (Smith, 2005).Temperatures in the lower tropospherehave increased between 0.12 and 0.22 °C per decade since 1979,according tosatellite temperature measurements.Over the one or two thousand years before 1850, worldtemperature is believed to have been relatively stable, with possibly regional fluctuations such as theMedieval Warm Periodor theLittle Ice Age.Based on estimates by NASA'sGoddard Institute for Space Studies,2005 was the warmest year sincereliable, widespread instrumental measurements became available in the late 1800s, exceeding the previous record set in 1998 by a few hundredths of a degree Celsius. Similar estimates prepared by theWorld Meteorological Organizationand theUK Climatic Research Unitconcluded that 2005 was still onlythe second warmest year, behind 1998.Depending on the time frame, a number of temperature recordsare available. These are based on differentdata sets, with different degrees of precision and reliability. An approximately globalinstrumentaltemperature recordbegins in about 1860; contamination from theurban heat islandeffect is believed to besmall and well controlled for. A longer-term perspective is available from various proxy records for recentmillennia; seetemperature record of the past 1000 yearsfor a discussion of these records and their differences. Theattribution of recent climate changeis clearest for the most recent period of the last 50years, for which the most detailed data are available.Satellite temperature measurementsof thetropospheric temperature date from 1979.