Try It Part 2

Now recall the claims from the Newsela article “Climate change confirmed? Last year called the warmest on record”opens in new window from Writing Explanation Part 2 Opens a new window.

Reread the following excerpt from the Newsela article to identify a counterclaim to the claim that human impact may not be a major cause of climate change. Next, answer the question in the activity below.

The Warmest Years Yet

Experts from both agencies found 2014’s temperatures to be higher than average temperatures in the 1900s.

Sometimes high temperatures on the Earth’s surface are caused by El Nino: a change in currents and temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Scientists are worried because the high global temperatures in 2014 were not tied to El Nino.

December 2014 was the warmest month ever measured, NOAA reported. May, June, August and September set new records for monthly highs.

A hotter 2014 continued a trend: 9 of the 10 warmest years ever recorded have occurred since 2002, NOAA said.

The climate scientists said that this warming trend — temperatures going up over a long period of time — could only be explained if you looked at human activity. They blamed burning fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, release greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere. These greenhouse gases help to trap in heat.

“Greenhouse gas trends are responsible for the majority of the trend that we see,” said NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt.

Because more greenhouse gases are being released, Schmidt added, “we may anticipate further record highs in the years to come.”

Newselaopens in new window, January 22, 2015.