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The Earth's rising temperatures are chiefly the result of the burning of fossil fuels (which puts carbon dioxide a heat-trapping or greenhouse gas in the atmosphere). Scientists, however, do not currently agree that human-caused global warming is a significant problem. AFP/Getty Images
Factories that burn fossil fuels help to cause global warming. Photo Courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica Online
Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere Land Surface Air Temperature, and the Combined Temperature Data Record anomaly averaged annually and between 60ºS and 60ºN (purple), with its estimated 95% confidence intervals (dashed). Data are from the TS-NOAA dataset (Smith and Reynolds, 2005). Anomalies are relative to the 1982-2001period for SST, and 1982-1991 for land. Source: U.S. Climate Change Science Program
Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere Time series of globally averaged surface temperature (TS) for NOAA (violet), NASA (black), and HadCRUT2v (green) datasets. All time series are 7-month running averages (used as a smoother) of original monthly data, which were expressed as a departure (ºC) from the 1979-97 average. Source: U.S. Climate Change Science Program
Polar Bears Endangered Polar bear "walking on thin ice" across the Arctic in order to reach marine seal-hunting grounds. Photograph Courtesy of NOAAA
Algae fills a pool fed by Canada Glacier in the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica with some experts forecasting the melting of half the Arctic’s summer sea ice by the century’s end. Image courtesy of National Geographic Society
The Esperanza surrounded by small ice floats in the Ross Sea, Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace
Dawn strikes the mountains rising above St. Mary’s Lake in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Picture From National Geographic Society
Top: AFP/Getty Images; Bottom: Budd Christman/NOAA The Arctic is heating up at least twice as fast as the rest of the planet, according to the final report of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.
Adaptation to Climate Change Key Challenge for Arctic Peoples and Arctic Economy. Image courtesy of the United Nations Environment Program
A hurricane-damaged home in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Scientists suggest that climate change may be leading to more devastating and more frequent natural disasters, like hurricanes and floods. Picture Courtesy of National Geographic Society
Demonstrators stand next to a sandbag wall they built in front of the building in The Hague where the World Climate Conference was meeting. Environmentalists were trying to make the point that without serious international efforts to control global warming, coastal cities could one day be flooded. AFP Photos/Toussaint Kluiters