Hockey stick graph

Graph showing a large spike in recent centuries' temperatures resembling a hockey stick to demonstrate anthropogenic climate change The original northern hemisphere hockey stick graph of Mann, Bradley & Hughes 1999, smoothed curve shown in blue with its uncertainty range in light blue, overlaid with green dots showing the 30-year global average of the PAGES 2k Consortium 2013 reconstruction. The red curve shows measured global mean temperature, according to HadCRUT4 data from 1850 to 2013.

Hockey stick graphs present the global or hemispherical mean temperature record of the past 500 to 2000 years as shown by quantitative climate reconstructions based on climate proxy records. These reconstructions have consistently shown a slow long term cooling trend changing into relatively rapid warming in the 20th century, with the instrumental temperature record by 2000 exceeding earlier temperatures.

The term "hockey stick graph" was popularized by the climatologist Jerry Mahlman, to describe the pattern shown by the Mann, Bradley & Hughes 1999 (MBH99) reconstruction, envisaging a graph that is relatively flat with a downward trend to 1900 as forming an ice hockey stick's "shaft" followed by a sharp, steady increase corresponding to the "blade" portion. The reconstructions have featured in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports as evidence of global warming. Arguments over the reconstructions have been taken up by fossil fuel industry funded lobbying groups attempting to cast doubt on climate science.

Paleoclimatology dates back to the 19th century, and the concept of examining varves in lake beds and tree rings to track local climatic changes was suggested in the 1930s. In the 1960s, Hubert Lamb generalised from historical documents and temperature records of central England to propose a Medieval Warm Period from around 900 to 1300, followed by Little Ice Age. This was the basis of a "schematic diagram" featured in the IPCC First Assessment Report of 1990 beside cautions that the medieval warming might not have been global. The use of indicators to get quantitative estimates of the temperature record of past centuries was developed, and by the late 1990s a number of competing teams of climatologists found indications that recent warming was exceptional. Bradley & Jones 1993 introduced the "Composite Plus Scaling" (CPS) method which, as of 2009, was still being used by most large-scale reconstructions....read more

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