Global Climate Change
Created as part of
National Science Foundation ITEST Grant #0833706.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE What is it?
Global Climate Change Identifiable change in the climate of Earth as a whole that lasts for an extended period of time (decades or longer) When due to natural processes, it is usually referred to as global climate variability
Usually refers to changes forced by human activities that change the atmosphere
What causes Earth’s climate to change? Changes in the atmosphere
Human activities – any activity that releases “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere
What are greenhouse gases? Any gases that cause the “greenhouse effect!” carbon dioxide nitrous oxide methane Imagine… a car on a cool but sunny day… water vapor
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE Who's researching it?
Research Almost 1000 studies dealing with different aspects of climate change have been conducted and published
So… how do we make sense of all this?
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Created in 1988 by the United Nations Environmental Program
Established to provide policy-makers with an objective source of information about climate change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Participate by naming experts and reviewing the reports before they’re published Dr. Susan Solomon, a NOAA atmospheric chemist, an IPCC member and one author of IPCC summary
Climatologists, ecologists, atmospheric physicists, and others
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Review current scientific and technical literature relevant to global climate change Provide reports on their findings at regular intervals
Reports are designed to be politically neutral and of high scientific and technical standards
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE Well, what does the data say?
Observed Changes and Effects
Warming of Climate Warming of the climate is definitely occurring and can be observed by the: Increases in global sea and air temperatures
Widespread melting of snow and ice
Temperature Change Data 1880-1884
Other Observed Changes and Effects 89% of current changes in ecosystems are consistent with changes expected due to global climate change Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide levels in atmosphere have increased greatly due to human activities since 1750 and now far exceed previous levels
Carbon dioxide has increased by approximately 80% since 1970
Human-Produced Greenhouse Gas Levels
Causes of Change
Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20 th century is very likely due to the observed increase in human-caused greenhouse gas concentrations and human influences have very likely contributed to sea level rise, too.
References IPCC Summary Report for Policy Makers . November 2007 "About IPCC." IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change . 20 Apr. 2009 <http://www.ipcc.ch/about/index.htm>. "Climate Change | U.S. EPA." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . 20 Apr. 2009 <http://epa.gov/climatechange/index.html>. Rischard, J. F. High noon twenty global problems, twenty years to solve them . New York: Basic Books, 2002.
"SVS Animations." NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio . 20 Apr. 2009 <http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003400/a003490/index.html>.