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global mean temperature

The global mean temperature over the last 137 years shows two periods of rapid warming: between 1915-1942, and between 1974-1998. Falloffs in 1999 and 2000 may reflect a general volatility in temperature or an increased soot effect: industrial particles from newly industrial nations China and India increasing and blocking light input. 2001 may have been anomalously hot, about equivalent to 1997. It is by no means clear that the global warming trend ended in 1998. Indications are otherwise:

Local effects, such as melting of the Artic ice cap, are generally what would be seen in a catastrophic climate change. The break-up of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica in early 2002 has been widely attributed to the effects of global warming. Similar concerns have been expressed about the Greenland ice sheet, far more vulnerable, and more likely to melt.