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Mon Jul 22, 2019, 09:02 PM

40 years ago, scientists predicted climate change. And hey, they were right [View all]

The Conversation
Author Neville Nicholls
Professor emeritus, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University
July 22, 2019 4.00pm EDT

This month the world has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon. But this week sees another scientific anniversary, perhaps just as important for the future of civilisation.

Forty years ago, a group of climate scientists sat down at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts for the first meeting of the “Ad Hoc Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate”. It led to the preparation of what became known as the Charney Report – the first comprehensive assessment of global climate change due to carbon dioxide. It doesn’t sound as impressive as landing on the Moon, and there certainly weren’t millions waiting with bated breath for the deliberations of the meeting.

The meeting at Woods Hole gathered together about 10 distinguished climate scientists, who also sought advice from other scientists from across the world. The group was led by Jule Charney from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most respected atmospheric scientists of the 20th century.

... the Charney Report is an exemplar of good science, and the success of its predictions over the past 40 years has firmly established the science of global warming....subsequent science has, however, only confirmed the conclusions of the Charney Report, although much more detailed predictions of climate change are now possible.

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Reply 40 years ago, scientists predicted climate change. And hey, they were right [View all]
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