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Report strengthens link between pollution, global warming
(CNN) -- Earth's average surface temperature could rise from 2.7 degrees F to almost 11 degrees F over the next hundred years, according to a draft report from the United Nations' intergovernmental panel on climate change.
The difference may not sound like much of a change. But in comparison, the Earth's average global temperature now is only about nine degrees warmer than during the last ice age.
"The changes we're looking at now are larger than anything we've seen in the last 10,000 years," said Keven Trenberth with National Center for Atmospheric Research
Global warming is blamed on greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, which form an atmospheric blanket that warms the Earth.
The intergovernmental panel issued similar reports in 1990 and 1995. Five years ago the group of more than 100 of the world's pre-eminent climate scientists projected only a temperature increase of 1.8 to 6.3 degrees F. "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate," they said.
The 2000 draft report said the higher temperatures stem mainly from more sophisticated computer modeling and an anticipated drop in sulfate emissions, especially from power plants, which have been reduced for air quality reasons.
Scientists who have read the panel's latest draft said it makes a stronger link between pollution and climate change, concluding that manmade pollution has "likely ... contributed substantially to observable warming over the last 50 years."
Some observers wondered about the timing of the Thursday report, coming so close to the presidential election.
Additionally, the release came weeks before international leaders gather in The Hague to discuss the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty designed to reduce world greenhouse gas emissions.
No industrialized nations have signed the treaty, but more than 150 other countries have ratified it.
More than 10,000 participants are expected for the mid-November summit, including delegates, journalists and non-government organization representatives.
New study finds warming trend in oceans
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