Climate change

Climate change occurs when changes in Earth's climate system result in new weather patterns that last for at least a few decades, and maybe for millions of years. The climate system is comprised of five interacting parts, the atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water), cryosphere (ice and permafrost), biosphere (living things), and lithosphere (earth's crust and upper mantle). The climate system receives nearly all of its energy from the sun, with a relatively tiny amount from earth's interior. The climate system also gives off energy to outer space. The balance of incoming and outgoing energy, and the passage of the energy through the climate system, determines Earth's energy budget. When the incoming energy is greater than the outgoing energy, earth's energy budget is positive and the climate system is warming. If more energy goes out, the energy budget is negative and earth experiences cooling.

As this energy moves through Earth's climate system, it creates Earth's weather and long-term averages of weather are called "climate". Changes in the long term average are called "climate change". Such changes can be the result of "internal variability", when natural processes inherent to the various parts of the climate system alter Earth's energy budget. Examples include cyclical ocean patterns such as the well-known El Nino Southern Oscillation and less familiar Pacific decadal oscillation and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Climate change can also result from "external forcing", when events outside of the climate system's five parts nonetheless produce changes within the system. Examples include changes in solar output and volcanism.

Human activities can also change earth's climate, and are presently driving climate change through global warming.[1] There is no general agreement in scientific, media or policy documents as to the precise term to be used to refer to anthropogenic forced change; either "global warming" or "climate change" may be used.[2]

The field of climatology incorporates many disparate fields of research. For ancient periods of climate change, researchers rely on evidence preserved in climate proxies, such as ice cores,[3] ancient tree rings, geologic records of changes in sea level, and glacial geology. Physical evidence of current climate change covers many independent lines of evidence, a few of which are temperature records, the disappearance of ice, and extreme weather events.

Terminology

The most general definition of climate change is a change in the statistical properties (principally its mean and spread)[4] of the climate system when considered over long periods of time, regardless of cause.[5] Accordingly, fluctuations over periods shorter than a few decades, such as El Niño, do not represent climate change.

The term "climate change" is often used to refer specifically to anthropogenic climate change (also known as global warming). Anthropogenic climate change is caused by human activity, as opposed to changes in climate that may have resulted as part of Earth's natural processes.[6] In this sense, especially in the context of environmental policy, the term climate change has become synonymous with anthropogenic global warming. Within scientific journals, global warming refers to surface temperature increases while climate change includes global warming and everything else that increasing greenhouse gas levels affect.[7]

A related term, "climatic change", was proposed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1966 to encompass all forms of climatic variability on time-scales longer than 10 years, but regardless of cause. During the 1970s, the term climate change replaced climatic change to focus on anthropogenic causes, as it became clear that human activities had a potential to drastically alter the climate.[2] Climate change was incorporated in the title of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Climate change is now used as both a technical description of the process, as well as a noun used to describe the problem.[2]

Earth's energy budget and climate system

The-NASA-Earth's-Energy-Budget-Poster-Radiant-Energy-System-satellite-infrared-radiation-fluxes
Earth's climate is largely determined by the planet's energy budget, i.e., the balance of incoming and outgoing radiation. It is measured by satellites and shown in W/m².[8]

Prior to the 18th century, scientists had not suspected that prehistoric climates were different from the modern period. By the late 18th century, geologists found evidence of a succession of geological ages with changes in climate. In the years since, a great deal of scientific progress has been made understanding the workings of the climate system.

Causes of climate change

On the broadest scale, the rate at which energy is received from the Sun and the rate at which it is lost to space determine the equilibrium temperature and climate of Earth. This energy is distributed around the globe by winds, ocean currents,[9][10] and other mechanisms to affect the climates of different regions.[11]

Factors that can shape climate are called climate forcings or "forcing mechanisms".[12] These include processes such as variations in solar radiation, variations in the Earth's orbit, variations in the albedo or reflectivity of the continents, atmosphere, and oceans, mountain-building and continental drift and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. There are a variety of climate change feedbacks that can either amplify or diminish the initial forcing. Some parts of the climate system, such as the oceans and ice caps, respond more slowly in reaction to climate forcings, while others respond more quickly. There are also key threshold factors which when exceeded can produce rapid change.

Forcing mechanisms can be either "internal" or "external". Internal forcing mechanisms are natural processes within the climate system itself (e.g., the thermohaline circulation). External forcing mechanisms can be either anthropogenic (e.g. increased emissions of greenhouse gases and dust) or natural (e.g., changes in solar output, the earth's orbit, volcano eruptions).

Whether the initial forcing mechanism is internal or external, the response of the climate system might be fast (e.g., a sudden cooling due to airborne volcanic ash reflecting sunlight), slow (e.g. thermal expansion of warming ocean water), or a combination (e.g., sudden loss of albedo in the Arctic Ocean as sea ice melts, followed by more gradual thermal expansion of the water). Therefore, the climate system can respond abruptly, but the full response to forcing mechanisms might not be fully developed for centuries or even longer.

Internal forcing mechanisms

Scientists generally define the five components of earth's climate system to include atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere (restricted to the surface soils, rocks, and sediments), and biosphere.[13] Natural changes in the climate system ("internal forcings") result in internal "climate variability".[14] Examples include the type and distribution of species, and changes in ocean-atmosphere circulations.

Ocean-atmosphere variability

The ocean and atmosphere can work together to spontaneously generate internal climate variability that can persist for years to decades at a time.[15][16] Examples of this type of variability include the El Niño–Southern Oscillation, the Pacific decadal oscillation, and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. These variations can affect global average surface temperature by redistributing heat between the deep ocean and the atmosphere[17][18] and/or by altering the cloud/water vapor/sea ice distribution which can affect the total energy budget of the earth.[19][20]

The oceanic aspects of these circulations can generate variability on centennial timescales due to the ocean having hundreds of times more mass than in the atmosphere, and thus very high thermal inertia. For example, alterations to ocean processes such as thermohaline circulation play a key role in redistributing heat in the world's oceans. Due to the long timescales of this circulation, ocean temperature at depth is still adjusting to effects of the Little Ice Age[21] which occurred between the 1600 and 1800s.

Ocean circulation conveyor belt
A schematic of modern thermohaline circulation. Tens of millions of years ago, continental-plate movement formed a land-free gap around Antarctica, allowing the formation of the ACC, which keeps warm waters away from Antarctica.

Life

Life affects climate through its role in the carbon and water cycles and through such mechanisms as albedo, evapotranspiration, cloud formation, and weathering.[22][23][24] Examples of how life may have affected past climate include:

External forcing mechanisms

MilankovitchCyclesOrbitandCores
Milankovitch cycles from 800,000 years ago in the past to 800,000 years in the future.
Vostok Petit data
Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 450,000 years

Human influences

Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean concentration
Increase in atmospheric CO
2
levels

In the context of climate variation, anthropogenic factors are human activities which affect the climate. The scientific consensus on climate change is "that climate is changing and that these changes are in large part caused by human activities",[35] and it "is largely irreversible".[36]

... there is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that climate is changing and that these changes are in large part caused by human activities. While much remains to be learned, the core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in the face of serious scientific debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations.

— United States National Research Council, Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Of most concern in these anthropogenic factors is the increase in CO2 levels. This is due to emissions from fossil fuel combustion, followed by aerosols (particulate matter in the atmosphere), and the CO2 released by cement manufacture.[37] Other factors, including land use, ozone depletion, animal husbandry (ruminant animals such as cattle produce methane,[38] as do termites), and deforestation, are also of concern in the roles they play—both separately and in conjunction with other factors—in affecting climate, microclimate, and measures of climate variables.[39]

Orbital variations

Slight variations in Earth's motion lead to changes in the seasonal distribution of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface and how it is distributed across the globe. There is very little change to the area-averaged annually averaged sunshine; but there can be strong changes in the geographical and seasonal distribution. The three types of kinematic change are variations in Earth's eccentricity, changes in the tilt angle of Earth's axis of rotation, and precession of Earth's axis. Combined together, these produce Milankovitch cycles which affect climate and are notable for their correlation to glacial and interglacial periods,[40] their correlation with the advance and retreat of the Sahara,[40] and for their appearance in the stratigraphic record.[41][42]

The IPCC notes that Milankovitch cycles drove the ice age cycles, CO2 followed temperature change "with a lag of some hundreds of years", and that as a feedback amplified temperature change.[43] The depths of the ocean have a lag time in changing temperature (thermal inertia on such scale). Upon seawater temperature change, the solubility of CO2 in the oceans changed, as well as other factors affecting air-sea CO2 exchange.[44]

Solar output

Solar Activity Proxies
Variations in solar activity during the last several centuries based on observations of sunspots and beryllium isotopes. The period of extraordinarily few sunspots in the late 17th century was the Maunder minimum.

The Sun is the predominant source of energy input to the Earth. Other sources include geothermal energy from the Earth's core, tidal energy from the Moon and heat from the decay of radioactive compounds. Both long- and short-term variations in solar intensity are known to affect global climate.

Three to four billion years ago, the Sun emitted only 75% as much power as it does today.[45] If the atmospheric composition had been the same as today, liquid water should not have existed on Earth. However, there is evidence for the presence of water on the early Earth, in the Hadean[46][47] and Archean[48][46] eons, leading to what is known as the faint young Sun paradox.[49] Hypothesized solutions to this paradox include a vastly different atmosphere, with much higher concentrations of greenhouse gases than currently exist.[50] Over the following approximately 4 billion years, the energy output of the Sun increased and atmospheric composition changed. The Great Oxygenation Event—oxygenation of the atmosphere around 2.4 billion years ago—was the most notable alteration. Over the next five billion years from the present, the Sun's ultimate death as it becomes a red giant and then a white dwarf will have large effects on climate, with the red giant phase possibly ending any life on Earth that survives until that time.[51]

Carbon14 with activity labels
Solar activity events recorded in radiocarbon. Values since 1950 not shown.

Solar output varies on shorter time scales, including the 11-year solar cycle[52] and longer-term modulations.[53] Solar intensity variations, possibly as a result of the Wolf, Spörer, and the Maunder Minima, are considered to have been influential in triggering the Little Ice Age.[54] This event extended from 1550 to 1850 AD and was marked by relative cooling and greater glacier extent than the centuries before and afterward.[55][56] Solar variation may also have affected some of the warming observed from 1900 to 1950. The cyclical nature of the Sun's energy output is not yet fully understood; it differs from the very slow change that is happening within the Sun as it ages and evolves.

Some studies point toward solar radiation increases from cyclical sunspot activity affecting global warming, and climate may be influenced by the sum of all effects (solar variation, anthropogenic radiative forcings, etc.).[57][58]

A 2010 study suggests "that the effects of solar variability on temperature throughout the atmosphere may be contrary to current expectations".[59]

In 2011, CERN announced the initial results from its CLOUD experiment in the Nature journal.[60] The results indicate that ionisation from cosmic rays significantly enhances aerosol formation in the presence of sulfuric acid and water, but in the lower atmosphere where ammonia is also required, this is insufficient to account for aerosol formation and additional trace vapours must be involved. The next step is to find more about these trace vapours, including whether they are of natural or human origin.

Volcanism

Msu 1978-2010
In atmospheric temperature from 1979 to 2010, determined by MSU NASA satellites, effects appear from aerosols released by major volcanic eruptions (El Chichón and Pinatubo). El Niño is a separate event, from ocean variability.

The eruptions considered to be large enough to affect the Earth's climate on a scale of more than 1 year are the ones that inject over 100,000 tons of SO2 into the stratosphere.[61] This is due to the optical properties of SO2 and sulfate aerosols, which strongly absorb or scatter solar radiation, creating a global layer of sulfuric acid haze.[62] On average, such eruptions occur several times per century, and cause cooling (by partially blocking the transmission of solar radiation to the Earth's surface) for a period of several years.

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century, affected the climate substantially, subsequently global temperatures decreased by about 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) for up to three years.[63][64] Thus, the cooling over large parts of the Earth reduced surface temperatures in 1991–93, the equivalent to a reduction in net radiation of 4 watts per square meter.[65] The Mount Tambora eruption in 1815 caused the Year Without a Summer.[66] Much larger eruptions, known as large igneous provinces, occur only a few times every fifty – one hundred million years – through flood basalt, and caused in Earth past global warming and mass extinctions.[67]

Small eruptions, with injections of less than 0.1 Mt of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, affect the atmosphere only subtly, as temperature changes are comparable with natural variability. However, because smaller eruptions occur at a much higher frequency, they too significantly affect Earth's atmosphere.[61][68]

Seismic monitoring maps current and future trends in volcanic activities, and tries to develop early warning systems. In climate modelling the aim is to study the physical mechanisms and feedbacks of volcanic forcing.[69]

Volcanoes are also part of the extended carbon cycle. Over very long (geological) time periods, they release carbon dioxide from the Earth's crust and mantle, counteracting the uptake by sedimentary rocks and other geological carbon dioxide sinks. The US Geological Survey estimates are that volcanic emissions are at a much lower level than the effects of current human activities, which generate 100–300 times the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoes.[70] A review of published studies indicates that annual volcanic emissions of carbon dioxide, including amounts released from mid-ocean ridges, volcanic arcs, and hot spot volcanoes, are only the equivalent of 3 to 5 days of human-caused output. The annual amount put out by human activities may be greater than the amount released by supererruptions, the most recent of which was the Toba eruption in Indonesia 74,000 years ago.[71]

Although volcanoes are technically part of the lithosphere, which itself is part of the climate system, the IPCC explicitly defines volcanism as an external forcing agent.[72]

Plate tectonics

Over the course of millions of years, the motion of tectonic plates reconfigures global land and ocean areas and generates topography. This can affect both global and local patterns of climate and atmosphere-ocean circulation.[73]

The position of the continents determines the geometry of the oceans and therefore influences patterns of ocean circulation. The locations of the seas are important in controlling the transfer of heat and moisture across the globe, and therefore, in determining global climate. A recent example of tectonic control on ocean circulation is the formation of the Isthmus of Panama about 5 million years ago, which shut off direct mixing between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This strongly affected the ocean dynamics of what is now the Gulf Stream and may have led to Northern Hemisphere ice cover.[74][75] During the Carboniferous period, about 300 to 360 million years ago, plate tectonics may have triggered large-scale storage of carbon and increased glaciation.[76] Geologic evidence points to a "megamonsoonal" circulation pattern during the time of the supercontinent Pangaea, and climate modeling suggests that the existence of the supercontinent was conducive to the establishment of monsoons.[77]

The size of continents is also important. Because of the stabilizing effect of the oceans on temperature, yearly temperature variations are generally lower in coastal areas than they are inland. A larger supercontinent will therefore have more area in which climate is strongly seasonal than will several smaller continents or islands.

Other mechanisms

The Earth receives an influx of ionized particles known as cosmic rays from a variety of external sources, including the Sun. A hypothesis holds that an increase in the cosmic ray flux would increase the ionization in the atmosphere, leading to greater cloud cover. This, in turn, would tend to cool the surface. The non-solar cosmic ray flux may vary as a result of a nearby supernova event, the solar system passing through a dense interstellar cloud, or the oscillatory movement of the Sun's position with respect to the galactic plane. The latter can increase the flux of high-energy cosmic rays coming from the Virgo cluster.[78]

Evidence exists that the Chicxulub impact some 66 million years ago had severely affected the Earth's climate. Large quantities of sulfate aerosols were kicked up into the atmosphere, decreasing global temperatures by up to 26 °C and producing sub-freezing temperatures for a period of 3−16 years. The recovery time for this event took more than 30 years.[79]

Study of past climates

A number of disciplines throw light on past climates.

Paleoclimatology is the study of changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of Earth. It uses a variety of proxy methods from the Earth and life sciences to obtain data previously preserved within things such as rocks, sediments, ice sheets, tree rings, corals, shells, and microfossils. It then uses the records to determine the past states of the Earth's various climate regions and its atmospheric system. Notable climate events known to paleoclimatology are provided in this list of periods and events in climate history.

Historical climatology is the study of historical changes in climate and their effect on human history and development. The primary sources include written records such as sagas, chronicles, maps and local history literature as well as pictorial representations such as paintings, drawings and even rock art.

Climate change in the recent past may be detected by corresponding changes in settlement and agricultural patterns.[80] Archaeological evidence, oral history and historical documents can offer insights into past changes in the climate. Climate change effects have been linked to the rise[81] and also the collapse of various civilizations.[80]

Glacier Mass Balance
Decline in thickness of glaciers worldwide over the past half-century

Physical evidence and effects

16-008-NASA-2015RecordWarmGlobalYearSince1880-20160120
Global temperature anomalies for 2015 compared to the 1951–1980 baseline. 2015 was the warmest year in the NASA/NOAA temperature record, which starts in 1880. It has since been superseded by 2016 (NASA/NOAA; 20 January 2016).[82]
NSFmonsoonsandclimatesince200AD
Comparisons between Asian Monsoons from 200 AD to 2000 AD (staying in the background on other plots), Northern Hemisphere temperature, Alpine glacier extent (vertically inverted as marked), and human history as noted by the U.S. NSF.
NASAarctic temp trends rt
Arctic temperature anomalies over a 100-year period as estimated by NASA. Typical high monthly variance can be seen, while longer-term averages highlight trends.

Evidence for climatic change is taken from a variety of sources that can be used to reconstruct past climates. Reasonably complete global records of surface temperature are available beginning from the mid-late 19th century. For earlier periods, most of the evidence is indirect—climatic changes are inferred from changes in proxies, indicators that reflect climate, such as vegetation, ice cores,[3] dendrochronology, sea level change, and glacial geology.

Temperature (surface and oceans)

The instrumental temperature record from surface stations was supplemented by radiosonde balloons, extensive atmospheric monitoring by the mid-20th century, and, from the 1970s on, with global satellite data as well. Taking the record as a whole, most of the 20th century had been unprecedentedly warm, while the 19th and 17th centuries were quite cool.[83]

The 18O/16O ratio in calcite and ice core samples used to deduce ocean temperature in the distant past is an example of a temperature proxy method, as are other climate metrics noted in subsequent categories.

Glaciers

Glaciers are considered among the most sensitive indicators of climate change.[84] Their size is determined by a mass balance between snow input and melt output. As temperatures warm, glaciers retreat unless snow precipitation increases to make up for the additional melt; the converse is also true.

Glaciers grow and shrink due both to natural variability and external forcings. Variability in temperature, precipitation, and englacial and subglacial hydrology can strongly determine the evolution of a glacier in a particular season. Therefore, one must average over a decadal or longer time-scale and/or over many individual glaciers to smooth out the local short-term variability and obtain a glacier history that is related to climate.

A world glacier inventory has been compiled since the 1970s, initially based mainly on aerial photographs and maps but now relying more on satellites. This compilation tracks more than 100,000 glaciers covering a total area of approximately 240,000 km², and preliminary estimates indicate that the remaining ice cover is around 445,000 km². The World Glacier Monitoring Service collects data annually on glacier retreat and glacier mass balance. From this data, glaciers worldwide have been found to be shrinking significantly, with strong glacier retreats in the 1940s, stable or growing conditions during the 1920s and 1970s, and again retreating from the mid-1980s to the present.[85][86]

The most significant climate processes since the middle to late Pliocene (approximately 3 million years ago) are the glacial and interglacial cycles. The present interglacial period (the Holocene) has lasted about 11,700 years.[87] Shaped by orbital variations, responses such as the rise and fall of continental ice sheets and significant sea-level changes helped create the climate. Other changes, including Heinrich events, Dansgaard–Oeschger events and the Younger Dryas, however, illustrate how glacial variations may also influence climate without the orbital forcing.

Glaciers leave behind moraines that contain a wealth of material—including organic matter, quartz, and potassium that may be dated—recording the periods in which a glacier advanced and retreated. Similarly, by tephrochronological techniques, the lack of glacier cover can be identified by the presence of soil or volcanic tephra horizons whose date of deposit may also be ascertained.

Data from NASA's Grace satellites show that the land ice sheets in both Antarctica (upper chart) and Greenland (lower) have been losing mass since 2002. Both ice sheets have seen an acceleration of ice mass loss since 2009.[88]

Arctic sea ice decline

The decline in Arctic sea ice, both in extent and thickness, over the last several decades is further evidence for rapid climate change.[89] Sea ice is frozen seawater that floats on the ocean surface. It covers millions of square kilometers in the polar regions, varying with the seasons. In the Arctic, some sea ice remains year after year, whereas almost all Southern Ocean or Antarctic sea ice melts away and reforms annually. Satellite observations show that Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13.2 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.[90] The 2007 Arctic summer sea ice retreat was unprecedented. Decades of shrinking and thinning in a warm climate has put the Arctic sea ice in a precarious position, it is now vulnerable to atmospheric anomalies.[91] "Both extent and volume anomaly fluctuate little from January to July and then decrease steeply in August and September".[91] This decrease is because of lessened ice production as a result of the unusually high SAT. During the Arctic summer, a slower rate of sea ice production is the same as a faster rate of sea ice melting.

This video summarizes how climate change, associated with increased carbon dioxide levels, has affected plant growth.

Sea level change

Projected change in global sea level rise if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were to either quadruple or double (NOAA GFDL)
The estimated change in sea level caused by carbon dioxide emissions.

Global sea level change for much of the last century has generally been estimated using tide gauge measurements collated over long periods of time to give a long-term average. More recently, altimeter measurements—in combination with accurately determined satellite orbits—have provided an improved measurement of global sea level change.[92] To measure sea levels prior to instrumental measurements, scientists have dated coral reefs that grow near the surface of the ocean, coastal sediments, marine terraces, ooids in limestones, and nearshore archaeological remains. The predominant dating methods used are uranium series and radiocarbon, with cosmogenic radionuclides being sometimes used to date terraces that have experienced relative sea level fall. In the early Pliocene, global temperatures were 1–2˚C warmer than the present temperature, yet sea level was 15–25 meters higher than today.[93][94][95]

According to recent studies, global-mean sea level rose by 195 mm during the period from 1870 to 2004.[96] Since 2004, satellite-based records indicate that there has been a further 43 mm of global-mean sea levels rise, as of July 2017.[97]

Ice cores

Five Myr Climate Change
The Antarctic temperature changes during the last several glacial and interglacial cycles of the present ice age, according to δ18O ratios.

Analysis of ice in a core drilled from an ice sheet such as the Antarctic ice sheet, can be used to show a link between temperature and global sea level variations. The air trapped in bubbles in the ice can also reveal the CO2 variations of the atmosphere from the distant past, well before modern environmental influences. The study of these ice cores has been a significant indicator of the changes in CO2 over many millennia, and continues to provide valuable information about the differences between ancient and modern atmospheric conditions.

Cloud cover and precipitation

Past precipitation can be estimated in the modern era with the global network of precipitation gauges. Surface coverage over oceans and remote areas is relatively sparse, but, reducing reliance on interpolation, satellite clouds and precipitation data has been available since the 1970s.[98] Quantification of climatological variation of precipitation in prior centuries and epochs is less complete but approximated using proxies such as marine sediments, ice cores, cave stalagmites, and tree rings.[99] In July 2016 scientists published evidence of increased cloud cover over polar regions,[100] as predicted by climate models.[101]

Climatological temperatures substantially affect cloud cover and precipitation. For instance, during the Last Glacial Maximum of 18,000 years ago, thermal-driven evaporation from the oceans onto continental landmasses was low, causing large areas of extreme desert, including polar deserts (cold but with low rates of cloud cover and precipitation).[102] In contrast, the world's climate was cloudier and wetter than today near the start of the warm Atlantic Period of 8000 years ago.[102]

Estimated global land precipitation increased by approximately 2% over the course of the 20th century, though the calculated trend varies if different time endpoints are chosen, complicated by ENSO and other oscillations, including greater global land cloud cover precipitation in the 1950s and 1970s than the later 1980s and 1990s despite the positive trend over the century overall.[98][103][104] Similar slight overall increase in global river runoff and in average soil moisture has been perceived.[103]

Vegetation

A change in the type, distribution and coverage of vegetation may occur given a change in the climate. Some changes in climate may result in increased precipitation and warmth, resulting in improved plant growth and the subsequent sequestration of airborne CO2. A gradual increase in warmth in a region will lead to earlier flowering and fruiting times, driving a change in the timing of life cycles of dependent organisms. Conversely, cold will cause plant bio-cycles to lag.[105] Larger, faster or more radical changes, however, may result in vegetation stress, rapid plant loss and desertification in certain circumstances.[106][107] An example of this occurred during the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse (CRC), an extinction event 300 million years ago. At this time vast rainforests covered the equatorial region of Europe and America. Climate change devastated these tropical rainforests, abruptly fragmenting the habitat into isolated 'islands' and causing the extinction of many plant and animal species.[106] Such stress can alter the growth rate of trees, which allows scientists to infer climate trends by analyzing the growth rate of tree rings. This branch of climate science is called dendroclimatology, and is one of the many ways they research climate trends prior to written records.[108]

Forest genetic resources

Even though this is a field with many uncertainties, it is expected that over the next 50 years climate changes will have an effect on the diversity of forest genetic resources and thereby on the distribution of forest tree species and the composition of forests. Diversity of forest genetic resources enables the potential for a species (or a population) to adapt to climatic changes and related future challenges such as temperature changes, drought, pests, diseases and forest fire. However, species are not naturally capable to adapt in the pace of which the climate is changing and the increasing temperatures will most likely facilitate the spread of pests and diseases, creating an additional threat to forest trees and their populations.[109] To inhibit these problems human interventions, such as transfer of forest reproductive material, may be needed.[110]

Pollen analysis

Palynology is the study of contemporary and fossil palynomorphs, including pollen. Palynology is used to infer the geographical distribution of plant species, which vary under different climate conditions. Different groups of plants have pollen with distinctive shapes and surface textures, and since the outer surface of pollen is composed of a very resilient material, they resist decay. Changes in the type of pollen found in different layers of sediment in lakes, bogs, or river deltas indicate changes in plant communities. These changes are often a sign of a changing climate.[111][112] As an example, palynological studies have been used to track changing vegetation patterns throughout the Quaternary glaciations[113] and especially since the last glacial maximum.[114]

Aridity ice age vs early holocene vs modern
Top: Arid ice age climate
Middle: Atlantic Period, warm and wet
Bottom: Potential vegetation in climate now if not for human effects like agriculture.[102]

Animals

Remains of beetles are common in freshwater and land sediments. Different species of beetles tend to be found under different climatic conditions. Given the extensive lineage of beetles whose genetic makeup has not altered significantly over the millennia, knowledge of the present climatic range of the different species, and the age of the sediments in which remains are found, past climatic conditions may be inferred.[115] The studies of the impact in vertebrates are few mainly from developing countries, where there are the fewest studies; between 1970 and 2012, vertebrates declined by 58 percent, with freshwater, marine, and terrestrial populations declining by 81, 36, and 35 percent, respectively.[116]

Similarly, the historical abundance of various fish species has been found to have a substantial relationship with observed climatic conditions.[117] Changes in the primary productivity of autotrophs in the oceans can affect marine food webs.[118]

Human impacts

According to the IPCC, human-caused global warming is driving climate changes impacting both human and natural systems on all continents and across the oceans. Human-caused global warming results from the increased use of fossil fuels in transportation, manufacturing and communications. Internet induced climate change is newest contributor to human-induced climate change.[119] Some of the impacts include the altering of ecosystems (with a few extinctions), threat to food production and water supplies due to extreme weather, and the dislocation of human communities due to sea level rise and other climate factors. Taken together these hazards also exacerbate other stressors such as poverty.[120] Possible societal responses include efforts to prevent additional climate change, adapting to unavoidable climate change, and possible future climate engineering.

See also

Climate of recent past

Recent climate

Miscellaneous

Notes

  1. ^ America's Climate Choices: Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change; National Research Council (2010). Advancing the Science of Climate Change. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. ISBN 0-309-14588-0. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. (p1) ... there is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that climate is changing and that these changes are in large part caused by human activities. While much remains to be learned, the core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in the face of serious scientific debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations. (pp. 21–22) Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.
  2. ^ a b c Hulme, Mike (2016). Concept of Climate Change, in: The International Encyclopedia of Geography. Wiley-Blackwell/Association of American Geographers (AAG). Retrieved 16 May 2016.
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References

Further reading

External links

Climate

Climate is the statistics of weather over long periods of time. It is measured by assessing the patterns of variation in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological variables in a given region over long periods of time. Climate differs from weather, in that weather only describes the short-term conditions of these variables in a given region.

A region's climate is generated by the climate system, which has five components: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere.The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, and altitude, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents. Climates can be classified according to the average and the typical ranges of different variables, most commonly temperature and precipitation. The most commonly used classification scheme was the Köppen climate classification. The Thornthwaite system, in use since 1948, incorporates evapotranspiration along with temperature and precipitation information and is used in studying biological diversity and how climate change affects it. The Bergeron and Spatial Synoptic Classification systems focus on the origin of air masses that define the climate of a region.

Paleoclimatology is the study of ancient climates. Since direct observations of climate are not available before the 19th century, paleoclimates are inferred from proxy variables that include non-biotic evidence such as sediments found in lake beds and ice cores, and biotic evidence such as tree rings and coral. Climate models are mathematical models of past, present and future climates. Climate change may occur over long and short timescales from a variety of factors; recent warming is discussed in global warming. Global warming results in redistributions. For example, "a 3°C change in mean annual temperature corresponds to a shift in isotherms of approximately 300–400 km in latitude (in the temperate zone) or 500 m in elevation. Therefore, species are expected to move upwards in elevation or towards the poles in latitude in response to shifting climate zones".

Climate change denial

Climate change denial, or global warming denial, is part of the global warming controversy. It involves denial, dismissal, or unwarranted doubt that contradicts the scientific opinion on climate change, including the extent to which it is caused by humans, its impacts on nature and human society, or the potential of adaptation to global warming by human actions. Some deniers endorse the term, while others prefer the term climate change skepticism. Several scientists have noted that "skepticism" is an inaccurate description for those who deny anthropogenic global warming. In effect, the two terms form a continuous, overlapping range of views, and generally have the same characteristics: both reject, to a greater or lesser extent, the scientific consensus on climate change. Climate change denial can also be implicit, when individuals or social groups accept the science but fail to come to terms with it or to translate their acceptance into action. Several social science studies have analyzed these positions as forms of denialism and pseudoscience.The campaign to undermine public trust in climate science has been described as a "denial machine" organized by industrial, political and ideological interests, and supported by conservative media and skeptical bloggers to manufacture uncertainty about global warming. In the public debate, phrases such as climate skepticism have frequently been used with the same meaning as climate denialism. The labels are contested: those actively challenging climate science commonly describe themselves as "skeptics", but many do not comply with common standards of scientific skepticism and, regardless of evidence, persistently deny the validity of human caused global warming.Although scientific opinion on climate change is that human activity is extremely likely to be the primary driver of climate change, the politics of global warming have been affected by climate change denial, hindering efforts to prevent climate change and adapt to the warming climate. Those promoting denial commonly use rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of a scientific controversy where there is none.Of the world's countries, the climate change denial industry is most powerful in the United States. From 2015 to 2017 (after having already served from 2003 to 2007), the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works was chaired by oil lobbyist and climate change denier Jim Inhofe, who had previously called climate change "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated against the American people" and claimed to have debunked the alleged hoax in February 2015 when he brought a snowball with him in the Senate chamber and tossed it across the floor. He was succeeded in 2017 by John Barrasso, who similarly said: "The climate is constantly changing. The role human activity plays is not known." Organised campaigning to undermine public trust in climate science is associated with conservative economic policies and backed by industrial interests opposed to the regulation of CO2 emissions. Climate change denial has been associated with the fossil fuels lobby, the Koch brothers, industry advocates and conservative think tanks, often in the United States. More than 90% of papers sceptical on climate change originate from right-wing think tanks.

The total annual income of these climate change counter-movement-organizations is roughly $900 million. Between 2002 and 2010, nearly $120 million (£77 million) was anonymously donated via the Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund to more than 100 organisations seeking to undermine the public perception of the science on climate change. In 2013 the Center for Media and Democracy reported that the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella group of 64 U.S. think tanks, had been lobbying on behalf of major corporations and conservative donors to oppose climate change regulation.Since the late 1970s, oil companies have published research broadly in line with the standard views on global warming. Despite this, oil companies organized a climate change denial campaign to disseminate public disinformation for several decades, a strategy that has been compared to the organized denial of the hazards of tobacco smoking by the tobacco industry.

Climate change in Bangladesh

Climate change in Bangladesh is a pressing issue. According to National Geographic, Bangladesh is one the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change. Bangladesh being located on the Tropic of Cancer receives fairly direct radiation throughout the year & maintains relatively high temperature.

Climate change mitigation

Climate change mitigation consists of actions to limit the magnitude or rate of long-term global warming and its related effects. Climate change mitigation generally involves reductions in human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Mitigation may also be achieved by increasing the capacity of carbon sinks, e.g., through reforestation. Mitigation policies can substantially reduce the risks associated with human-induced global warming.According to the IPCC's 2014 assessment report, "Mitigation is a public good; climate change is a case of the 'tragedy of the commons'. Effective climate change mitigation will not be achieved if each agent (individual, institution or country) acts independently in its own selfish interest (see International cooperation and Emissions trading), suggesting the need for collective action. Some adaptation actions, on the other hand, have characteristics of a private good as benefits of actions may accrue more directly to the individuals, regions, or countries that undertake them, at least in the short term. Nevertheless, financing such adaptive activities remains an issue, particularly for poor individuals and countries."Examples of mitigation include reducing energy demand by increasing energy efficiency, phasing out fossil fuels by switching to low-carbon energy sources, and removing carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere. for example, through improved building insulation. Another approach to climate change mitigation is climate engineering.Most countries are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of GHGs at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference of the climate system. Scientific analysis can provide information on the impacts of climate change, but deciding which impacts are dangerous requires value judgments.In 2010, Parties to the UNFCCC agreed that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre-industrial level. With the Paris Agreement of 2015 this was confirmed, but was revised with a new target laying down "parties will do the best" to achieve warming below 1.5 °C. The current trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions does not appear to be consistent with limiting global warming to below 1.5 or 2 °C. Other mitigation policies have been proposed, some of which are more stringent or modest than the 2 °C limit. In 2019, after 2 years of research, scientists from Australia, and Germany presented the "One Earth Climate Model" that shows how exactly we can stay below 1.5 degrees in price of 1.7 trillion dollars per year.

Climatic Research Unit email controversy

The Climatic Research Unit email controversy (also known as "Climategate") began in November 2009 with the hacking of a server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) by an external attacker, copying thousands of emails and computer files, the Climatic Research Unit documents, to various internet locations several weeks before the Copenhagen Summit on climate change.

The story was first broken by climate change denialists, with columnist James Delingpole popularising the term "Climategate" to describe the controversy. Several climate-change "skeptics" argued that the emails showed that global warming was a scientific conspiracy and that scientists manipulated climate data and attempted to suppress critics. The CRU rejected this, saying that the emails had been taken out of context and merely reflected an honest exchange of ideas.The mainstream media picked up the story, as negotiations over climate change mitigation began in Copenhagen on 7 December 2009. Because of the timing, scientists, policy makers and public-relations experts said that the release of emails was a smear campaign intended to undermine the climate conference. In response to the controversy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released statements supporting the scientific consensus that the Earth's mean surface temperature had been rising for decades, with the AAAS concluding: "based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway... it is a growing threat to society".Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged throughout the investigations.

Drought

A drought or drouth is a natural disaster of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water. A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region and harm to the local economy. Annual dry seasons in the tropics significantly increase the chances of a drought developing and subsequent bush fires. Periods of heat can significantly worsen drought conditions by hastening evaporation of water vapour.

Many plant species, such as those in the family Cactaceae (or cacti), have drought tolerance adaptations like reduced leaf area and waxy cuticles to enhance their ability to tolerate drought. Some others survive dry periods as buried seeds. Semi-permanent drought produces arid biomes such as deserts and grasslands. Prolonged droughts have caused mass migrations and humanitarian crisis. Most arid ecosystems have inherently low productivity. The most prolonged drought ever in the world in recorded history occurred in the Atacama Desert in Chile (400 Years).

Effects of global warming

The effects of global warming are the environmental and social changes caused (directly or indirectly) by human emissions of greenhouse gases. There is a scientific consensus that climate change is occurring, and that human activities are the primary driver. Many impacts of climate change have already been observed, including glacier retreat, changes in the timing of seasonal events (e.g., earlier flowering of plants), and changes in agricultural productivity.

Anthropogenic forcing has likely contributed to some of the observed changes, including sea level rise, changes in climate extremes, declines in Arctic sea ice extent and glacier retreat.Future effects of climate change will vary depending on climate change policies and social development. The two main policies to address climate change are reducing human greenhouse gas emissions (climate change mitigation) and adapting to the impacts of climate change. Geoengineering is another policy option.Near-term climate change policies could significantly affect long-term climate change impacts. Stringent mitigation policies might be able to limit global warming (in 2100) to around 2 °C or below, relative to pre-industrial levels. Without mitigation, increased energy demand and extensive use of fossil fuels might lead to global warming of around 4 °C. Higher magnitudes of global warming would be more difficult to adapt to, and would increase the risk of negative impacts.This article doesn't cover ocean acidification, which is directly caused by atmospheric carbon dioxide, not global warming.

Global warming

Global warming is a long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system, an aspect of climate change shown by temperature measurements and by multiple effects of the warming. Though earlier geological periods also experienced episodes of warming, the term commonly refers to the observed and continuing increase in average air and ocean temperatures since 1900 caused mainly by emissions of greenhouse gasses in the modern industrial economy. In the modern context the terms global warming and climate change are commonly used interchangeably, but climate change includes both global warming and its effects, such as changes to precipitation and impacts that differ by region. Many of the observed warming changes since the 1950s are unprecedented in the instrumental temperature record, and in historical and paleoclimate proxy records of climate change over thousands to millions of years.In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report concluded, "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century." The largest human influence has been the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Climate model projections summarized in the report indicated that during the 21st century, the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 0.3 to 1.7 °C (0.5 to 3.1 °F) to 2.6 to 4.8 °C (4.7 to 8.6 °F) depending on the rate of greenhouse gas emissions and on climate feedback effects. These findings have been recognized by the national science academies of the major industrialized nations and are not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing.Future climate change effects are expected to include rising sea levels, ocean acidification, regional changes in precipitation, and expansion of deserts in the subtropics. Surface temperature increases are greatest in the Arctic, with the continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice. Predicted regional precipitation effects include more frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, heavy rainfall with floods, and heavy snowfall. Effects directly significant to humans are predicted to include the threat to food security from decreasing crop yields, and the abandonment of populated areas due to rising sea levels. Environmental impacts appear likely to include the extinction or relocation of ecosystems as they adapt to climate change, with coral reefs, mountain ecosystems, and Arctic ecosystems most immediately threatened. Because the climate system has a large "inertia" and greenhouse gases will remain in the atmosphere for a long time, climatic changes and their effects will continue to become more pronounced for many centuries even if further increases to greenhouse gases stop.Possible societal responses to global warming include mitigation by emissions reduction, adaptation to its effects, and possible future climate engineering. Almost all countries are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), whose ultimate objective is to prevent dangerous anthropogenic climate change. Parties to the UNFCCC have agreed that deep cuts in emissions are required and that global warming should be limited to well below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) compared to pre-industrial levels, with efforts made to limit warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F). Some scientists call into question climate adaptation feasibility, with higher emissions scenarios, or the two degree temperature target.Public reactions to global warming and concern about its effects are also increasing. A 2015 global survey showed that a median of 54% of respondents consider it "a very serious problem", with significant regional differences: Americans and Chinese (whose economies are responsible for the greatest annual CO2 emissions) are among the least concerned.

Global warming controversy

The global warming controversy concerns the public debate over whether global warming is occurring, how much has occurred in modern times, what has caused it, what its effects will be, whether any action should be taken to curb it, and if so what that action should be. In the scientific literature, there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases. No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view, though a few organizations with members in extractive industries hold non-committal positions.The controversy is, by now, political rather than scientific: there is a scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity. Disputes over the key scientific facts of global warming are more prevalent in the media than in the scientific literature, where such issues are treated as resolved, and such disputes are more prevalent in the United States than globally.Political and popular debate concerning the existence and cause of climate change includes the reasons for the increase seen in the instrumental temperature record, whether the warming trend exceeds normal climatic variations, and whether human activities have contributed significantly to it. Scientists have resolved these questions decisively in favour of the view that the current warming trend exists and is ongoing, that human activity is the cause, and that it is without precedent in at least 2000 years. Public disputes that also reflect scientific debate include estimates of how responsive the climate system might be to any given level of greenhouse gases (climate sensitivity), how global climate change will play out at local and regional scales, and what the consequences of global warming will be.

Global warming remains an issue of widespread political debate, often split along party political lines, especially in the United States. Many of the issues that are settled within the scientific community, such as human responsibility for global warming, remain the subject of politically or economically motivated attempts to downplay, dismiss or deny them—an ideological phenomenon categorised by academics and scientists as climate change denial. The sources of funding for those involved with climate science—both supporting and opposing mainstream scientific positions—have been questioned by both sides. There are debates about the best policy responses to the science, their cost-effectiveness and their urgency. Climate scientists, especially in the United States, have reported official and oil-industry pressure to censor or suppress their work and hide scientific data, with directives not to discuss the subject in public communications. Legal cases regarding global warming, its effects, and measures to reduce it have reached American courts. The fossil fuels lobby has been identified as overtly or covertly supporting efforts to undermine or discredit the scientific consensus on global warming.

Green New Deal

The Green New Deal (GND) is a proposed stimulus program that aims to address climate change and economic inequality. The name refers to the New Deal, a set of social and economic reforms and public works projects undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The Green New Deal combines Roosevelt's economic approach with modern ideas such as renewable energy and resource efficiency.In the 116th Congress, it is a pair of resolutions, H. Res. 109 and S. Res. 59, sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). On March 25, 2019, Markey's resolution failed to advance in the U.S. Senate in a margin of 0-57, with most Senate Democrats voting "present" in protest to the vote.

Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere.If a planet's atmosphere contains radiatively active gases (i.e., greenhouse gases) they will radiate energy in all directions. Part of this radiation is directed towards the surface, warming it.

The intensity of the downward radiation – that is, the strength of the greenhouse effect – will depend on the atmosphere's temperature and on the amount of greenhouse gases that the atmosphere contains.

Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is critical to supporting life. Human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have strengthened the greenhouse effect and caused global warming.The term "greenhouse effect" is a misnomer that arose from a faulty analogy with the effect of sunlight passing through glass and warming a greenhouse. The way a greenhouse retains heat is fundamentally different, as a greenhouse works mostly by reducing airflow so that warm air is kept inside.

Greenhouse gas

A greenhouse gas is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. Greenhouse gases cause the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. Without greenhouse gases, the average temperature of Earth's surface would be about −18 °C (0 °F), rather than the present average of 15 °C (59 °F). The atmospheres of Venus, Mars and Titan also contain greenhouse gases.

Human activities since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (around 1750) have produced a 45% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), from 280 ppm in 1750 to 406 ppm in early 2017. This increase has occurred despite the uptake of more than half of the emissions by various natural "sinks" involved in the carbon cycle. The vast majority of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions (i.e., emissions produced by human activities) come from combustion of fossil fuels, principally coal, oil, and natural gas, with additional contributions coming from deforestation, changes in land use, soil erosion and agriculture (including livestock).Should greenhouse gas emissions continue at their rate in 2017, Earth's surface temperature could exceed historical values as early as 2047, with potentially harmful effects on ecosystems, biodiversity and human livelihoods. At current emission rates temperatures could increase by 2 °C, which the United Nations' IPCC designated as the upper limit to avoid "dangerous" levels, by 2036.

Human impact on the environment

Human impact on the environment or anthropogenic impact on the environment includes changes to biophysical environments and ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural resources caused directly or indirectly by humans, including global warming, environmental degradation (such as ocean acidification), mass extinction and biodiversity loss, ecological crisis, and ecological collapse. Modifying the environment to fit the needs of society is causing severe effects, which become worse as the problem of human overpopulation continues. Some human activities that cause damage (either directly or indirectly) to the environment on a global scale include human reproduction, overconsumption, overexploitation, pollution, and deforestation, to name but a few. Some of the problems, including global warming and biodiversity loss pose an existential risk to the human race, and overpopulation causes those problems.The term anthropogenic designates an effect or object resulting from human activity. The term was first used in the technical sense by Russian geologist Alexey Pavlov, and it was first used in English by British ecologist Arthur Tansley in reference to human influences on climax plant communities. The atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen introduced the term "Anthropocene" in the mid-1970s. The term is sometimes used in the context of pollution emissions that are produced from human activity but also applies broadly to all major human impacts on the environment.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, dedicated to providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change, its natural, political and economic impacts and risks, and possible response options.It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly. Membership is open to all members of the WMO and UN.

The IPCC produces reports that contribute to the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the main international treaty on climate change. The objective of the UNFCCC is to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system". The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report was a critical scientific input into the UNFCCC's Paris Agreement in 2015.IPCC reports cover the "scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation." The IPCC does not carry out original research, nor does it monitor climate or related phenomena itself. Rather, it assesses published literature including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed sources. However, the IPCC can be said to stimulate research in climate science. Chapters of IPCC reports often close with sections on limitations and knowledge or research gaps, and the announcement of an IPCC special report can catalyse research activity in that area.

Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute on a voluntary basis to writing and reviewing reports, which are then reviewed by governments. IPCC reports contain a "Summary for Policymakers", which is subject to line-by-line approval by delegates from all participating governments. Typically, this involves the governments of more than 120 countries.The IPCC provides an internationally accepted authority on climate change, producing reports which have the agreement of leading climate scientists and the consensus of participating governments. The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared, in equal parts, between the IPCC and Al Gore.Following the election of a new Bureau in 2015, the IPCC embarked on its sixth assessment cycle. Besides the Sixth Assessment Report, to be completed in 2022, the IPCC released the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C in October 2018, will release an update to its 2006 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories—the 2019 Refinement—in May 2019, and will deliver two further special reports in 2019: the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land. This makes the sixth assessment cycle the most ambitious in the IPCC's 30-year history. The IPCC also decided to prepare a special report on cities and climate change in the seventh assessment cycle, and held a conference in March 2018 to stimulate research in this area.

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that (part one) global warming is occurring and (part two) it is extremely likely that human-made CO2 emissions have predominantly caused it. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. There are currently 192 parties (Canada withdrew from the protocol, effective December 2012) to the Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol implemented the objective of the UNFCCC to reduce the onset of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to "a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" (Article 2). The Kyoto Protocol applies to the six greenhouse gases listed in Annex A: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).The Protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities: it acknowledges that individual countries have different capabilities in combating climate change, owing to economic development, and therefore puts the obligation to reduce current emissions on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The Protocol's first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. A second commitment period was agreed in 2012, known as the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, in which 37 countries have binding targets: Australia, the European Union (and its 28 member states), Belarus, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have stated that they may withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol or not put into legal force the Amendment with second round targets. Japan, New Zealand, and Russia have participated in Kyoto's first-round but have not taken on new targets in the second commitment period. Other developed countries without second-round targets are Canada (which withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012) and the United States (which has not ratified). As of January 2019, 124 states have accepted the Doha Amendment, while entry into force requires the acceptances of 144 states. Of the 37 countries with binding commitments, 7 have ratified.

Negotiations were held in the framework of the yearly UNFCCC Climate Change Conferences on measures to be taken after the second commitment period ends in 2020. This resulted in the 2015 adoption of the Paris Agreement, which is a separate instrument under the UNFCCC rather than an amendment of the Kyoto Protocol.

List of scientists who disagree with the scientific consensus on global warming

This is a list of scientists who have made statements that conflict with the scientific consensus on global warming as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and endorsed by other scientific bodies. A minority are climatologists. Nearly all publishing climate scientists (97–98%) support the consensus on anthropogenic climate change.The scientific consensus is that the global average surface temperature has risen over the last century. Scientific opinion on climate change was summarized in the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main conclusions on global warming at that time were as follows:

The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the years 1971–2001.

"There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities", in particular emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100. Accompanying this temperature increase will be increases in some types of extreme weather and a projected sea level rise. The balance of impacts of global warming become significantly negative at larger values of warming.These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized nations; the consensus has strengthened over time and is now virtually unanimous. The level of consensus correlates with expertise in climate science.There have been several efforts to compile lists of dissenting scientists, including a 2008 US senate minority report, the Oregon Petition, and a 2007 list by the Heartland Institute, all three of which have been criticized on a number of grounds.For the purpose of this list, a "scientist" is defined as an individual who has published at least one peer-reviewed research article in the broad field of natural sciences, although not necessarily in a field relevant to climatology. Since the publication of the IPCC Third Assessment Report, each has made a clear statement in his or her own words (as opposed to the name being found on a petition, etc.) disagreeing with one or more of the report's three main conclusions, and each has been described in reliable sources as a climate skeptic, denier, or in disagreement with any of the three main conclusions. Their views on climate change are usually described in more detail in their biographical articles. Few of the statements in the references for this list are part of the peer-reviewed scientific literature; most are from other sources such as interviews, opinion pieces, online essays and presentations.

Nota bene: Only individuals who have their own Wikipedia article may be included in the list.

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is an Indian government ministry. The ministry portfolio is currently held by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.The ministry is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating, and overseeing the implementation of environmental and forestry programmes in the country. The main activities undertaken by the ministry include conservation and survey of the flora of India and fauna of India, forests and other wilderness areas; prevention and control of pollution; afforestation, and land degradation mitigation. It is responsible for the administration of the national parks of India.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the cadre controlling authority of the Indian Forest Service (IFoS), one of the three All India Services.

Scientific opinion on climate change

Scientific opinion on climate change is a judgment of scientists regarding the degree to which global warming is occurring, its likely causes, and its probable consequences.

A related—but not identical—term, "scientific consensus on climate change", is the prevailing view on climate change within the scientific community. The consensus is that:

Earth's climate has warmed significantly since the late 1800s.

Human activities (primarily greenhouse gas emissions) are the primary cause.

Continuing emissions will increase the likelihood and severity of global effects.

People could manage future climate change effects through intense efforts at reducing further warming while preparing for any unavoidable climate changes.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty adopted on 9 May 1992 and opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. It then entered into force on 21 March 1994, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified it. The UNFCCC objective is to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". The framework sets non binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. Instead, the framework outlines how specific international treaties (called "protocols" or "Agreements") may be negotiated to specify further action towards the objective of the UNFCCC

Initially, an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) produced the text of the Framework Convention during its meeting in New York from 30 April to 9 May 1992. The UNFCCC was adopted on 9 May 1992, and opened for signature on 4 June 1992. The UNFCCC has 197 parties as of December 2015. The convention enjoys broad legitimacy, largely due to its nearly universal membership.The parties to the convention have met annually from 1995 in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was concluded and established legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2008–2012. The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference produced an agreement stating that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre-industrial level. The Protocol was amended in 2012 to encompass the period 2013–2020 in the Doha Amendment, which as of December 2015 had not entered into force. In 2015 the Paris Agreement was adopted, governing emission reductions from 2020 on through commitments of countries in Nationally Determined Contributions, lowering the target to 1.5 °C. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016.

One of the first tasks set by the UNFCCC was for signatory nations to establish national greenhouse gas inventories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals, which were used to create the 1990 benchmark levels for accession of Annex I countries to the Kyoto Protocol and for the commitment of those countries to GHG reductions. Updated inventories must be submitted annually by Annex I countries.

"UNFCCC" is also the name of the United Nations Secretariat charged with supporting the operation of the Convention, with offices in Haus Carstanjen, and the UN Campus (known as Langer Eugen) in Bonn, Germany. From 2010 to 2016 the head of the secretariat was Christiana Figueres. In July 2016, Patricia Espinosa succeeded Figueres. The Secretariat, augmented through the parallel efforts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), aims to gain consensus through meetings and the discussion of various strategies.

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