Attributing physical and biological impacts to anthropogenic climate change

Nature. 2008 May 15;453(7193):353-7. doi: 10.1038/nature06937.


Significant changes in physical and biological systems are occurring on all continents and in most oceans, with a concentration of available data in Europe and North America. Most of these changes are in the direction expected with warming temperature. Here we show that these changes in natural systems since at least 1970 are occurring in regions of observed temperature increases, and that these temperature increases at continental scales cannot be explained by natural climate variations alone. Given the conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely to be due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, and furthermore that it is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica, we conclude that anthropogenic climate change is having a significant impact on physical and biological systems globally and in some continents.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Databases, Factual
  • Ecosystem*
  • Forestry
  • Geography
  • Greenhouse Effect*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Human Activities*
  • Ice
  • Internationality
  • Marine Biology
  • Models, Statistical
  • Temperature


  • Ice