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Global Climate Change

The world's climate is changing. Over the evolution of life on Earth, the climate has changed many times. Now, human activity influences global climate change. Today, natural disasters due to global climate change threatens more people in the world than war.

Evidence for Global Warming

  • Earth's surface air temperature has risen about 1°F (0.7°C) since the late 1800s ~ National Academy of Sciences
  • Each year the CO2 level rises another 0.5 to 1.0%. Prior to the industrial revolution, concentrations were fairly stable at 280ppm. Today, they are around 370ppm, an increase of well over 30%.
  • Snows of Kilimanjaro melting
    • The snows of Kilimanjaro have been in retreat since the 1880s. The climate there is not getting warmer, it's getting drier. Just won't snow.
  • Disappearance of Lake Chad in Africa
  • First six months of 2006 were the warmest ever recorded in the United States
  • In summer of 2006, according to the National Climatic Data Center, more than 50 cities in the continental U.S. have set records for high temperature
  • Of the 21 hottest years ever measured, 20 have occurred within the last 25 years
  • Hottest year of this recent hottest wave was 2005.
  • "In northern California, it was hotter for longer than ever on record, hitting 110 degrees four consecutive days in the nine-county Bay Area." ~ San Francisco Chronicle, July 30, 2006
  • U.S. has had more than three times its normal share of extremely hot summer nights, according to Seth Borenstein, the science writer for The Associated Press.
  • 35,000 killed by a monster heat wave in Europe in 2003
  • The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years.
  • Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level.
  • The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade.
  • At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles.
  • Net decline in 142 of the 144 mountain glaciers with records from 1900 to 1980.~ Oerlemans (2005)
  • Some 35.1 million acres of tropical forests are destroyed each year, releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.
  • Global warming accounted for around half of the extra hurricane-fueling warmth in the waters of the tropical North Atlantic in 2005, while natural cycles were only a minor factor, according to a new analysis by Kevin Trenberth and Dennis Shea of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Is Global Climate Change Due to Humans?

Is Global Climate change due to human activity? Evidence from the deep past shows that climate on Earth is always in flux. However, strong evidence shows that humans appear to influence global climate change.

  • The abstracts of all 928 scientific articles in the ISI citation database identified with the keyword "global climate change"showed no attempt to refute the position that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are a substantial contributor to recent warming. (Wikipedia)

Doubt That Global Warming is Anthropocentric

  • According to Accu-Weather, the world’s leading commercial forecaster, "Global air temperatures as measured by land-based weather stations show an increase of about 0.45 degrees Celsius over the past century. This may be no more than normal climatic variation...[and] several biases in the data may be responsible for some of this increase."
  • Water Vapor - "Huge scientific uncertainty exists in defining the extent and importance of this feedback loop." ~ NOAA; "The feedback loop in which water is involved is critically important to projecting future climate change, but as yet is still fairly poorly measured and understood."
  • 98% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are natural (mostly water vapor); only 2% are from man-made sources.
  • By most accounts, man-made emissions have had no more than a minuscule impact on the climate. Although the climate has warmed slightly in the last 100 years, 70% percent of that warming occurred prior to 1940, before the upsurge in greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes. (Dr. Robert C. Balling, Arizona State University)
  • A Gallup survey indicated that only 17% of the members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society thought the warming of the 20th century was the result of an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Tempest - By Joel Achenbach, Sunday, May 28, 2006
  • Fear, Complexity, & Environmental Management in the 21st Century by Michael Crighton

Climate Change Web Sites

Causes of Global Climate Change

  • Complex solar cycles
  • Earth's orbital variations (also called Milankovitch cycles, which occur over intervals of tens to hundreds of thousands of years)
  • Different rates of change and climatic conditions depending on location.
  • GreenHouse Gases
    • Water Vapor
    • CO2
    • Methane
    • Others

PaleoClimate

  • Micro Cooling 1950-1970's
  • Little Ice Age (roughly 1450 - 1890 AD; or starting about AD 1300)
  • Middle “climatic optimum” (also termed the altithermal, 9000-4000 BC),
  • Early cool stage (about 10,000 BC)
  • Last glacial maximum (21,000 years ago).
  • Mid Cretaceous warmth (120-90 million years ago) globally warm conditions.
This page last updated August 24, 2007.
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