The Increase in Global Temperature: What It Does and Does Not Tell Us

The global temperature record is often used to support the claim that the Earth is warming at a rate that is “reasonably consistent” with predictions for warming due to the buildup of greenhouse gases. This paper examines how the Earth’s temperature is taken, examines the reliability of those measurements, and highlights several factors that affect temperature trends and variation.

No matter how many confounding variables are brought to the table, many argue that the rise in greenhouse gases is or soon will dominate all other factors that affect the distribution of energy in the atmosphere, and will drive the global temperature further upward. If reported temperature continues to rise, some scientists will inevitably claim that the empirical evidence is highly supportive of that theory. However, it is important to recognize that association or statistical correlation is not causation.

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