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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 12 No. 2, p. 159-163
    Received: June 28, 1982

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Carbon Dioxide and Global Temperature: What the Data Show1

  1. Sherwood B. Idso2



Analyses of data from a number of sources indicate that (i) there was a gradual increase in global atmospheric CO2 concentration from about 1860 to 1945, (ii) there has been a much more rapid rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration from 1945 to the present, (iii) the most recent trend of global surface air temperature during this period of rapid CO2 increase has been downwards, which is in contradiction to the predictions of the most sophisticated general circulational models of the atmosphere in use today, (iv) this downward trend in surface air temperature has been most pronounced in northern latitudes, which is also in contrast to the model predictions, and (v) the downward temperature trend has been greater in summer than in winter, which is again in contradiction to the models. It is thus concluded that the theoretical numerical models of the atmosphere are grossly in error in their predictions of future CO2 effects on world climate, as is also suggested by several recent empirical studies. Consequently, since increasing global population requires more and more food, and since elevated CO2 concentrations have been documented to enhance crop productivity by increasing rates of photosynthesis, and water use efficiency by decreasing rates of transpiration, it is further concluded that increased levels of atmospheric CO2 may actually be beneficial to our future well-being.

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