The team then contacted 8,500 of the authors of those papers, asking them to rate their own papers; the responses closely matched the independent analysis, with 97.2 percent of the papers that took a position on the subject being rated by their own authors as supporting the notion of human-caused global warming.
Americans Warming to Climate Change Reality
These figures very closely track the findings of similar previous studies, although this latest research, published in the open-access online journal Environmental Research Letters, used a far larger sample set than earlier papers. In the interests of transparency and spreading the word, the full analysis is being made available on a website, TheConsensusProject.com, complete with supporting and explanatory graphics.
The study may even understate the level of consensus. As Cook and co-author Dana Nuccitelli note in a blog post on Skeptical Science, the fact that 8,000 or so abstracts were excluded from the analysis because they didn't express an opinion on the human factor in climate change doesn't mean that two-thirds of climate science papers are ambivalent on the subject. "Frankly, every scientist doing climate research knows humans are causing global warming," they write. "There's no longer a need to state something so obvious. For example, would you expect every geological paper to note in its abstract that the Earth is a spherical body that orbits the sun?"