关于气候变化的已知的已知

波茨坦—哲学家丹尼特(Daniel Dennett)曾将科学比作建设巨大的金字塔。其基石是大量成熟的知识——不再受到争议、在学术圈之外鲜有人讨论的知识。更新的研究堆积于金字塔尖,公共争论大部分也发生在这部分。这一比方对于气候变化研究非常恰当,在联合国政府间气候变化委员会(IPCC)最新报告发布之际我们尤其要记住这一点。

这份IPCC的第五份报告由全世界数百位气候学家耗时数年完成,它检视了我们已有的对气候变化的理解,并解释了更晚近的发现。不难理解,媒体的目光总是集中在后者——比如,与此前的2007年IPCC报告相比,这份报告的海平面上升预测提高了很多。但现在让我们把目光从新闻周期中收回,回到金字塔的稳固地基——知识上。

气候研究始于两个世纪前,约瑟夫·傅里叶(Joseph Fourier)发现温室气体能影响行星的气候。1859年,约翰·丁达尔(John Tyndall)在实验室证明了哪种气体造成了这一效应。此后,详尽的地面和来自卫星的辐射测量证明了温室效应的存在。

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