Eight great figures summarizing the evidence for a “human fingerprint” on recent climate change

Physicist John Cook, who runs the must-read website Skeptical Science, has published “The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism.”  It’s a good introduction to global warming science and skepticism.

He kindly agreed to send me the 8 figures of the “human fingerprints on climate change,” which I repost below.

The clever deniers these days don’t deny the painfully obvious reality that the planet is warming or that climate is changing — they simply deny that humans are a major cause.

But in fact there is an overabundance of evidence that humans are warming the planet and changing the climate, so much so that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences labels as “settled facts” that “the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.”

Here are key fingerprint figures:











Related Posts:

26 Responses to Eight great figures summarizing the evidence for a “human fingerprint” on recent climate change

  1. Paulm says:

    Welcome to Planet Eaarth (Storms of our Children) series ….

    Wind, rain, snow whip Atlantic Canada for fourth time in December

    The East Coast was being hit Monday by its fourth major storm in as many weeks as Environment Canada warned of heavy snow and rain, strong winds and another round of storm surges.

    Tens of thousands of people were without power, many flights were delayed, and motorists faced treacherous driving conditions.

    “These guys just cannot catch a break,” said CBC meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai

  2. Raul M. says:

    Could expect to see more heat reflecting
    To ground at night when it couldn’t be
    Directly from the sun.
    Great evidence as to how the Earth is getting
    Should be time to clean the place up some.
    Huh Duh

  3. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    THIS is effective communication.

  4. Michael T. says:

    A Natural By-Product of Nature

    “CO2 is a naturally occurring compound, that plays a profound and vital role in a myriad of natural processes. How could more of it be bad?”

  5. catman306 says:

    Now you need some clever educator to put these fingerprints into a form that can be understood by someone with an eighth grade education, while at the same time remaining clear enough that the deniers can’t misconstrue what is written in the dumbed down form to make their twisted case.

    You have to reach the millions of people unsophisticated and/or uneducated enough to watch Fox News. Educating those people has to be the ultimate goal.

  6. catman306 says:

    Michael T,
    People have died from drinking too much water. Tell them that too much of anything is still too much.

  7. Um… I see seven. Is there an eighth? I realize of course there could be 800 ..

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    I’m missing the term Precipitation.

    Under investigation and possible another fingerprint, the “NAO”, “Ice Melt” and different “Atmospheric Circulation”. This and the precipitation fingerprint cause havoc and it’s just the beginning with 15-20% ice lose so far, besides it’s none-linear attributes.

    Cold winter in a world of warming?
    In a more recent press-release, Vladimir Petoukhov and Vladimir Semenov, argue that Global Warming could cool down winter temperatures over Europe, and a reduced sea-ice extent could increase the chance of getting cold winters. Also they propose that cold winters are associated with the atmospheric circulation (see schematic below), and their press-release was based on a paper in Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR), which may seem to have a serendipitous timing with the cold spell over Europe during the last weeks. However, the original manuscript was submitted in november 2009 (before the statement made by James Overland) and accepted in May 2010. One could regard the paper more as a ‘prediction’ rather than an ‘explanation’.

    Effect of this … ofc we can not attribute a single event – it’s that each event is partial affected.

    Blizzard Causes Severe Flooding, Evacuations and Fires in Cape Cod Coastal Town

  9. Michael T. says:


    I understand that. I was only quoting the description in the video that I linked.

  10. Rob Honeycutt says:

    I think Dr Santer should go to Australia and personally give John Cook a bug hug for so eloquently presenting this fingerprint material.

    It’s taking time but seeing more and more “digestible” science being presented to the general public is great. It is so important. The disinformers do a great job of making lots of noise to distract people. But ultimately it’s work like this that will win the day. (Hopefully sooner than later.)

  11. Rob Honeycutt says:

    That should read “big” hug. Not bug hug.

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    It would be much better to have these fingerprints in text form, so people are able to find them with a search engine.

    For effective messaging with the general public i recommend to focus on the effects of the fingerprints. This summary might be acknowledgeable for people already familar with the scientific process but i doubt this is the best form for messaging with the people it aims for.

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    FOCUS ON THE STUFF PEOPLE CAN EXPERIENCE and i would add examples, just like the heatwave from 2003 or the unprecedented precipitation events all year all over the globe. Just then it makes sense to add these scientific fingerprints, to have the context to bring things in perspective. Further it is required to set out the projections of catastrophic climate changes and the first signs of them.

  14. djrabbit says:

    Mr. Cook’s Guide is excellent, I look forward to sharing it widely.

    One of the fingerprints above, #3, is not intuitive to me. And I couldn’t find it on Skeptical Science. Can anyone here explain it?

    Does it require an understanding (absent in denialist circles) that the Sun’s intensity has not increased enough to explain our heating? Or is it like fingerprints 4, 6, and 7, observations that could not be explained even by a solar increase (absent AGW)?

  15. @richard pauli (#6) – The guide shows 7 fingerprints in some detail – the eighth figure referenced in this post is the introductory text and graphic.

  16. Baerbel #15 (#6)- Of course. Thank you so much.

  17. Colorado Bob says:

    Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN) — More than 200,000 people have been affected by flooding resulting from heavy rains in Sri Lanka, a disaster management official said Monday.

    Heavy rains lasted from noon Sunday to about noon on Monday, said A.R. Jayarathne, assistant director of the country’s Disaster Management Center.

  18. Colorado Bob says:

    Widespread reports of 4-8 inches came from the region, with 11.05 inches reported in Cairns over the past five days. This brought the monthly rainfall total up to 16.75 inches at Cairns, more than double the normal monthly average of 6.28 inches.

    Daily rainfall totals will average 1-3 inches in many areas, while local amounts can exceed 5 inches.

  19. Colorado Bob says:

    More than twice the average rainfall will have drenched Cairns by the end of December – the fifth month in a row that region has doubled its rainfall average.

  20. Colorado Bob says:

    More than twice the average rainfall will have drenched Cairns by the end of December – the fifth month in a row that region has doubled its rainfall average.

  21. paulm says:

    Very impressive satellite image….Storms of Our Children…

    Mighty Post-Christmas Nor’easter wallops the Northeast U.S. (wunderground)

  22. P, G. Dudda says:

    Fingerprint #6 explains why annual lowest temps in Greenland are warming much faster than highest temps — I dug up records for 3 sites (Qaqortoq, Nuuk, and Ilulissat) and charted them over 100+ years. The highs have drifted upward by “only” 1 or 2 deg. C, but the lows have been moving upward quite markedly, by as much as 10 deg. C!