Question: Without man made warming, what would the average temperature be today?

  1. That’s a really great question and one which we really don’t know the answer to!

    The Industrial Revolution (from about 1760 to 1820-1840) heralded the start of new techniques of generating energy and forms of travel, and meant that lots of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides were introduced into the environment.
    So I would say that if that hadn’t happened, temperatures today would have been similar to those before 1760 or a tiny bit higher. Or maybe a bit higher than the mid Holocene (7000 – 5000 years ago). Right now we are about 4-6 degrees celsius higher than pre industrial remperatures. Every region of the earth would have a different temperature so I can’t really give you a definitive average temperature.

    The other thing that needs to be taken into consideration is orbital forcing. This is term given to small changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, which cause the levels of sunshine in areas across the world to vary. And it affects climate too. Climatic changes are cylic, so they have certain patterns and this is because of these orbital changes. And if we had no man made input we would definitely have to take this into consideration too as it would affect global temperatures.

    Your question is really good as its to do with a topic that climate scientists are actively working on to find the answer to. And its super important to understand what the world would be like without our input and study natural variations so that we know the combined effect of natural and man made variations and what this might mean for the future.