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全球性的溫度增量可能反過來導致其它方面的變動，包括海平面上升和降雨量及降雪量在數額上和樣式上的變化。這些變動也許促使極端天氣事件更強更頻繁，譬如洪水、旱災、熱浪、颶風和龍捲風。除此之外，還有其它後果，包括更高或更低的農產量、冰河撤退、夏天時河流流量減少、物種消失及疾病肆虐。預計全球變暖所因致事件的數量和強度; 但是很難把這些特殊事件連接到全球變暖。雖然很多研究集中在2100年或之前的時間，但是預期全球變暖、海平面上升會在往後的日子仍然繼續。因為二氧化碳在大氣中有50年到200年的壽命。但是還是有不少氣候研究顯示為人類的行動在最近全球變暖中其實沒有扮演重要角色。可是, 更多人關心氣候變化在將來會是多少，而且對於應付預言後果的政策應該如何實施，正在展開一場熱烈的政治爭鬥和公開辯論。這些政策討論重點是應該減少還是扭轉未來的暖化及怎麼應付預計的後果。
全球變暖是比氣候改變更明確的名稱。原則上，「全球變暖」一詞對成因持中立觀點，但是根據大眾的用法，「全球變暖」意味著人類的影響。可是，聯合國氣候變化框架公約使用「氣候改變」代表人為因素導致的改變，「氣候變化」代表其他東西導致的改變。其他組織則使用「人為的氣候改變」（anthropogenic climate change）代表人為因素導致的改變。
根據美國國家航空暨太空總署戈達德太空研究所的研究報告估計，自1800年代有測量儀器廣泛地應用開始，2005年是最溫暖的年份，比1998年的記錄高了攝氏百分之幾度。 世界氣象組織和英國氣候研究單位也有類似的估計，曾經預計2005年是僅次於1998年第二溫暖的年份。 。
人類曾企圖測量關於「在過去50年觀察得到的大部分暖化都是由人類活動所致的」的科學公眾輿論程度。  在科學雜誌中，加州聖迭戈大學的歷史學教授納奧秘·奧勒斯克斯從科學資訊機構中的928份科學文獻的摘要中尋找全球氣候改變（global climate change）。他得出結論，當中75%明示或暗示接受了這個公眾輿論的觀點。可是，奧勒斯克斯教授並沒有表示幾多摘要指出人類導致的暖化效果。
5. 認為全球暖化不是二氧化碳成因的，二氧化碳在大氣中的溫室效應有待進一步評估, 因為水氣才使主要的溫室氣體(60~70%),但是二氧化碳只有26%。
1. ↑ （英文）Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - first signs of increase
2. ↑ 茂納羅亞峰上採集的數據
3. ↑ 美國環保局:全球變暖潛力與大氣中壽命
4. ↑ 美國國家航空暨太空總署戈達德太空研究所的研究報告全球溫度趨勢
5. ↑ 2005年的溫度
6. ↑ 天氣在線：入夏以來中國和歐洲的高溫記錄
7. ↑ [http://unn.people.com.cn/BIG5/22220/28976/28982/1991868.html 人民網:武漢又創高溫記錄 昨日百年最熱一天]
8. ↑ 湖南新聞網:浙江高溫記錄不斷刷新 成為全國最熱地區之一
9. ↑ 大紀元:廣州出現五十三年來罕見高溫
10. ↑ 美國兩百個城市單日高溫創歷史記錄
11. ↑ 新華網:重慶創高溫記錄 南方各地暑熱難耐
12. ↑ 宜蘭出現焚風 高溫破入夏記錄：38.8度
13. ↑ 都市日報:11月平均溫度 創120年高溫紀錄
14. ↑ 2001年氣候改變的科學基礎
15. ↑ 地球系統研究實驗室:環球監察科
16. ↑ 地球系統研究實驗室:環球監察科:消息公告
17. ↑ 聯合國政府間氣候變化專門委員會:2001年的科學數據
18. ↑ 真實氣候
19. ↑ BBC新聞:發現植物也釋放甲烷
20. ↑ Ealert
21. ↑ 
22. ↑ 溫室氣體資料庫
23. ↑ 英國衛報:全球變暖命中「打翻點」
24. ↑ http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/462.htm
25. ↑ http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/007.htm
26. ↑ http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=80
27. ↑ 科學雜誌: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
28. ↑ 丹麥國家太空中心
29. ↑ ReasonOnline:Stars in Her Eyes
30. ↑ 政府間氣候變化專門委員會的第三份評估報告:第11章第2節
31. ↑ 政府間氣候變化專門委員會的第三份評估報告:第11章第4節
32. ↑ 政府間氣候變化專門委員會的第三份評估報告:第6章第13節
33. ↑ 彼得·A·史托等人在2003年的研究
34. ↑ Marsh and Svensmark 2000 
35. ↑ 產業溫室氣體排放管理及輔導計畫網站:溫室氣體減量電子報-第7期
36. ↑ 
37. ↑ 杜克大學物理學家報告
38. ↑ 《自然》雜誌9月18日內容精選
39. ↑ 
· 海洋及氣候改變協會的全球變暖資訊, 伍茲霍爾海洋研究院 (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
o 政府間氣候變化專門委員會第三個評估報告 於2001年刊登
o 政府間氣候變化專門委員會報告摘要 - GreenFacts編輯
· 夏威夷Mauna Loa Observatory - 最近二氧化碳含量的測量與數據
· 真實氣候 - 一群氣候科學家的網誌
· 國家大氣層研究中心 - 氣候改變研究總覽
· 發現全球變暖 發現過程的詳盡介紹與歷史
· 氣候改變的介紹:氣象學家的筆記 (世界氣象組織) (PDF)
· 全球變暖, 美國環境保護署
· 氣候方舟 - 提供新聞及分析的氣候改變及全球變暖的入門網站
· Science and Technology Librarianship: Global Warming and Climate Change Science — Extensive commented list of Internet resources — Science and Technology Sources on the Internet.
· Union of Concerned Scientists Global Warming page
· BBC: Global warming risk 'much higher'
· Watch and read 'Tipping Point', Australian science documentary about effects of global warming on rare, common, and endangered wildlife
· Summary by "Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology"
· A report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a pro-business group of global warming skeptics
· Newest reports on US EPA website
· An optimistic outlook on Global Warming from PBNV.com Apr 25, 2006
· The Discovery of Global Warming from historian Spencer Weart, Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP).
· IPS Inter Press Service - Independent news on global warming and its consequences.
2個分類: 地球科學 | 氣候變化
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Frequently Asked Questions
Please note that this page is in the process of being updated with new information from the Fourth IPCC Assessment and other recent work. Please check back frequently for changes.
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Global Warming Basics What it is, how it's caused, and what needs to be done to stop it. [En Español]
What causes global warming?
Is the earth really getting hotter?
Are warmer temperatures causing bad things to happen?
Is global warming making hurricanes worse?
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Consequences of Global Warming Unless we act now, our children will inherit a hotter world, dirtier air and water, more severe floods and droughts, and more wildfires [En Español]
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ALASKA HEATS UPWarming temperatures are already having an impact on the people, wildlife and landscape of Alaska. Click on the numbers on this map to see what's happening on the front lines of global warming.
1. Barrow 2. Shismaref 3. Yukon River 4. Wasilla 5. Kenai Peninsula 6. McCall Glacier 7. Fairbanks
The latest scientific data confirm that the earth's climate is rapidly changing. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the course of the last century, and will likely rise even more rapidly in coming decades. The cause? A thickening layer of carbon dioxide pollution, mostly from power plants and automobiles, that traps heat in the atmosphere.
Scientists say that unless global warming emissions are reduced, average U.S. temperatures could rise another 3 to 9 degrees by the end of the century -- with far-reaching effects. Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas. Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense. Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. Disease-carrying mosquitoes will expand their range. And species will be pushed to extinction. As this page shows, many of these changes have already begun.
CLIMATE PATTERN CHANGES
Consequence: warmer temperaturesAverage temperatures will rise, as will the frequency of heat waves.
Warning signs today
Most of the United States has already warmed, in some areas by as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, no state in the lower 48 states experienced below average temperatures in 2002. The last three five-year periods are the three warmest on record.
Many places in North America had their hottest seasons or days on record in the late 1990s.
Since 1980, the earth has experienced 19 of its 20 hottest years on record, with 2005 and 1998 tied for the hottest and 2002 and 2003 coming in second and third.
Consequence: drought and wildfireWarmer temperatures could also increase the probability of drought. Greater evaporation, particularly during summer and fall, could exacerbate drought conditions and increase the risk of wildfires.
Warning signs today
Greater evaporation as a result of global warmingcould increase the risk of wildfires.
The 1999-2002 national drought was one of the three most extensive droughts in the last 40 years.
In 2002, the Western United States experienced its second worst wildfire season in the last 50 years; more than 7 million acres burned. Colorado, Arizona, and Oregon had their worst seasons.
The period from April through June of 1998 was the driest three-month period in 104 years in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana.
Dry conditions produced the worst wildfires in 50 years in Florida in 1998.
April through July of 1999 was the driest four-month stretch in 105 years of record-keeping in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
Montana, Colorado, and Kansas experienced severe dust storms in 2002, a product of dry conditions.
September 2001 to February 2002 was the second driest six-month period on record for the Northeast.
Consequence: more intense rainstormsWarmer temperatures increase the energy of the climatic system and lead to more intense rainfall at some times and in some areas.
Warning signs today
National annual precipitation has increased between 5 and 10 percent since the early 20th century, largely the result of heavy downpours in some areas.
Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts each got more than double their normal monthly rainfall in June 1998.
Severe flooding in the Texas, Montana, and North Dakota during the summer of 2002 caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
More frequent and more intensive heat waves could result in more heat-related deaths. Photo: Gary Braasch, Chicago, July 1995. See the World View of Global Warming website for more Gary Braasch photos illustrating the consequences of the changing climate.
Consequence: deadly heat waves and the spread of diseaseMore frequent and more intensive heat waves could result in more heat-related deaths. These conditions could also aggravate local air quality problems, already afflicting more than 80 million Americans. Global warming is expected to increase the potential geographic range and virulence of tropical diseases as well.
Warning signs today
In 2003, extreme heat waves caused more than 20,000 deaths in Europe and more than 1500 deaths in India.
More than 250 people died as a result of an intense heat wave that gripped most of the eastern two-thirds of the United States in 1999.
Disease-carrying mosquitoes are spreading as climate shifts allow them to survive in formerly inhospitable areas. Mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever viruses were previously limited to elevations of 3,300 feet but recently appeared at 7,200 feet in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. Malaria has been detected in new higher-elevation areas in Indonesia.
Consequence: more powerful and dangerous hurricanesWarmer water in the oceans pumps more energy into tropical storms, making them more intense and potentially more destructive.
Warning signs today
The number of category 4 and 5 storms has greatly increased over the past 35 years, along with ocean temperature.
Consequence: melting glaciers, early ice thawRising global temperatures will speed the melting of glaciers and ice caps, and cause early ice thaw on rivers and lakes.
Warning signs today
At the current rate of retreat, all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2070.
After existing for many millennia, the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica -- a section larger than the state of Rhode Island -- collapsed between January and March 2002, disintegrating at a rate that astonished scientists. Since 1995 the ice shelf's area has shrunk by 40 percent.
According to NASA, the polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of nine percent per decade. Arctic ice thickness has decreased 40 percent since the 1960s.
In 82 years of record-keeping, four of the five earliest thaws on Alaska's Tanana River were in the 1990s.
The satellite photo at far left shows the Larson B ice shelf on Jan. 31, 2002. Ice appears as solid white. Moving to the right, in photos taken Feb. 17 and Feb. 23, the ice begins to disintegrate. In the photos at far right, taken Mar. 5 and Mar 7, note water (blue) where solid ice had been, and that a portion of the shelf is drifting away. Photos: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Consequence: sea-level riseCurrent rates of sea-level rise are expected to increase as a result both of thermal expansion of the oceans and of partial melting of mountain glaciers and the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Consequences include loss of coastal wetlands and barrier islands, and a greater risk of flooding in coastal communities. Low-lying areas, such as the coastal region along the Gulf of Mexico and estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay, are especially vulnerable.
Warning signs today
The current pace of sea-level rise is three times the historical rate and appears to be accelerating.
Global sea level has already risen by four to eight inches in the past century. Scientists' best estimate is that sea level will rise by an additional 19 inches by 2100, and perhaps by as much as 37 inches.
Warmer temperatures may cause some ecosystems, including alpine meadows in the Rocky Mountains, to disappear.
Consequence: ecosystem shifts and species die-offThe increase in global temperatures is expected to disrupt ecosystems and result in loss of species diversity, as species that cannot adapt die off. The first comprehensive assessment of the extinction risk from global warming found that more than one million species could be committed to extinction by 2050 if global warming pollution is not curtailed. Some ecosystems, including alpine meadows in the Rocky Mountains, as well as tropical montane and mangrove forests, are likely to disappear because new warmer local climates or coastal sea level rise will not support them.
Warning signs today
A recent study published in the prestigious journal Nature found that at least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming. Species' geographic ranges have shifted toward the poles at an average rate of 4 miles per decade and their spring events have shifted earlier by an average of 2 days per decade.
In Washington's Olympic Mountains, sub-alpine forest has invaded higher elevation alpine meadows. In Bermuda and other places, mangrove forests are being lost.
In areas of California, shoreline sea life is shifting northward, probably in response to warmer ocean and air temperatures.
Over the past 25 years, some penguin populations have shrunk by 33 percent in parts of Antarctica, due to declines in winter sea-ice habitat.
Related NRDC WebpagesArctic on Thin IceGlobal Warming in the Arctic and AntarcticGlobal Warming Threatens FloridaBibliography of Climate Studies
Related WebsitesIntergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeUnion of Concerned Scientists, California's Climate ChoicesNational Climatic Data CenterGlobal Warming: Early Warning Signs MapU.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change
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Contents/Site Map June 2006 version
About this site: TOP OF PAGE Summary of the History of Climate Change Science SEARCH all the essays
Climate data The Modern Temperature Trend Past Cycles: Ice Age Speculations Temperatures from Fossil Shells Rapid Climate Change Uses of Radiocarbon Dating Greenland Ice Drilling (J. Genuth) Influences on climateThe Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect Roger Revelle's Discovery Other Greenhouse Gases Aerosols: Effects of Haze and Cloud Biosphere: How Life Alters ClimateChanging Sun, Changing Climate? Interview with Jack EddyOcean Currents and ClimateTheorySimple Models of Climate Change Chaos in the Atmosphere Venus & Mars General Circulation Models Basic Radiation Calculations Arakawa's Computation Device GCM Family Tree (P. Edwards)
About this site History in Hypertext - Methodology & SourcesList of illustrations Please contribute comments, corrections.Author, Spencer Weart
Social relationshipsThe Public and Climate Change (1) (2) Wintry Doom Ice Sheets and Rising SeasGovernment: The View from Washington Climate Modification Schemes Money for Keeling: Monitoring CO2 Levels International Cooperation Climatology as a Profession
Reflections on the Scientific Process A Personal Note Talking Points (pdf)
Reference/Utilities Timeline of milestones List of external influences Developments after 1988 (links to essays)BIBLIOGRAPHY by author Bibliography by yearDOWNLOAD entire site (Zip file) PDF files (to download and print)Order on CD-ROM
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This is mounted on the Web site of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics.Discovery of Global Warming site created by Spencer Weart with support from the American Institute of Physics, the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Copyright © 2003-2006 Spencer Weart and the American Institute of Physics.Index terms: climate change, global warming, greenhouse effect, temperature change, history, science, geophysics, meteorology, computer models, aerosols, ice. Book cover photo by Frank Cezus © Getty Images.
history of global warming - history of climate science - greenhouse effect history
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming
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Global mean surface temperature anomaly 1850 to 2006 relative to 1961–1990
Mean surface temperature anomalies during the period 1995 to 2004 with respect to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980
Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation.
Global average air temperature near the Earth's surface rose 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.3 ± 0.32 °F) during the past century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes, "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations," which leads to warming of the surface and lower atmosphere by increasing the greenhouse effect. Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes have probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950, but a small cooling effect since 1950. These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists is the only scientific society that rejects these conclusions. A few individual scientists disagree with some of these conclusions as well.
Climate models referenced by the IPCC project that global surface temperatures are likely to increase by 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) between 1990 and 2100. The range of values reflects the use of differing scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions and results of models with differences in climate sensitivity. Although most studies focus on the period up to 2100, warming and sea level rise are expected to continue for more than a millennium even if greenhouse gas levels are stabilized.  This reflects the large heat capacity of the oceans.
An increase in global temperatures can in turn cause other changes, including sea level rise, and changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation resulting in floods and drought. There may also be changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, though it is difficult to connect specific events to global warming. Other effects may include changes in agricultural yields, glacier retreat, reduced summer streamflows, species extinctions and increases in the ranges of disease vectors.
Remaining scientific uncertainties include the exact degree of climate change expected in the future, and how changes will vary from region to region around the globe. There is ongoing political and public debate regarding what, if any, action should be taken to reduce or reverse future warming or to adapt to its expected consequences. Most national governments have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol aimed at combating greenhouse gas emissions.
2.1 Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
2.3 Solar variation
3.1 From the present to the dawn of human settlement
3.2 Pre-human climate variations
4 Climate models
5 Attributed and expected effects
6 Mitigation and adaptation
7 Issue debate and political processes
8 Related climatic issues
9 See also
11 Further reading
12 External links
The term "global warming" is a specific example of the broader term climate change, which can also refer to global cooling. In common usage the term refers to recent warming and implies a human influence. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) uses the term "climate change" for human-caused change, and "climate variability" for other changes. The term "anthropogenic climate change" is sometimes used when focusing on human-induced changes.
Carbon dioxide during the last 400,000 years and (inset above) the rapid rise since the Industrial Revolution; changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun, known as Milankovitch cycles, are believed to be the pacemaker of the 100,000 year ice age cycle.
Main articles: Attribution of recent climate change and scientific opinion on climate change
The climate system varies through natural, internal processes and in response to variations in external forcing factors including solar activity, volcanic emissions, variations in the earth's orbit (orbital forcing) and greenhouse gases. The detailed causes of the recent warming remain an active field of research, but the scientific consensus  identifies increased levels of greenhouse gases due to human activity as the main influence. This attribution is clearest for the most recent 50 years, for which the most detailed data are available. Contrasting with the scientific consensus, other hypotheses have been proposed to explain most of the observed increase in global temperatures. One such hypothesis is that the warming is caused by natural fluctuations in the climate or that warming is mainly a result of variations in solar radiation. 
None of the effects of forcing are instantaneous. Due to the thermal inertia of the Earth's oceans and slow responses of other indirect effects, the Earth's current climate is not in equilibrium with the forcing imposed. Climate commitment studies indicate that even if greenhouse gases were stabilized at present day levels, a further warming of about 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) would still occur. 
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
Main article: Greenhouse effect
Recent increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The monthly CO2 measurements display small seasonal oscillations in an overall yearly uptrend; each year's maximum is reached during the northern hemisphere's late spring, and declines during the northern hemisphere growing season as plants remove some CO2 from the atmosphere.
The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824 and was first investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. It is the process by which absorption and emission of infrared radiation by atmospheric gases warms a planet's atmosphere and surface.
Greenhouse gases create a natural greenhouse effect, without which mean temperatures on Earth would be an estimated 30 °C (54 °F) lower so that Earth would be uninhabitable. Thus scientists do not "believe in" or "oppose" the greenhouse effect as such; rather, the debate concerns the net effect of the addition of greenhouse gases, while allowing for associated positive and negative feedback mechanisms.
On Earth, the major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36–70% of the greenhouse effect (not including clouds); carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes 9–26%; methane (CH4), which causes 4–9%; and ozone, which causes 3–7%. Some other naturally occurring gases contribute very small fractions of the greenhouse effect; one of these, nitrous oxide (N2O), is increasing in concentration owing to human activity such as agriculture. The atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and CH4 have increased by 31% and 149% respectively above pre-industrial levels since 1750. These levels are considerably higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years, the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice cores. From less direct geological evidence it is believed that CO2 values this high were last attained 20 million years ago. "About three-quarters of the anthropogenic [man-made] emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere during the past 20 years are due to fossil fuel burning. The rest of the anthropogenic emissions are predominantly due to land-use change, especially deforestation."
The present atmospheric concentration of CO2 is about 383 parts per million (ppm) by volume. Future CO2 levels are expected to rise due to ongoing burning of fossil fuels and land-use change. The rate of rise will depend on uncertain economic, sociological, technological, natural developments, but may be ultimately limited by the availability of fossil fuels. The IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios gives a wide range of future CO2 scenarios, ranging from 541 to 970 ppm by the year 2100. Fossil fuel reserves are sufficient to reach this level and continue emissions past 2100, if coal, tar sands or methane clathrates are extensively used.
Positive feedback effects such as the expected release of CH4 from the melting of permafrost peat bogs in Siberia (possibly up to 70,000 million tonnes) may lead to significant additional sources of greenhouse gas emissions not included in climate models cited by the IPCC.
Main article: Effects of global warming#Further global warming (positive feedback)
The effects of forcing agents on the climate are complicated by various feedback processes.
One of the most pronounced feedback effects relates to the evaporation of water. CO2 injected into the atmosphere causes a warming of the atmosphere and the earth's surface. The warming causes more water to be evaporated into the atmosphere. Since water vapor itself acts as a greenhouse gas, this causes still more warming; the warming causes more water vapor to be evaporated, and so forth until a new dynamic equilibrium concentration of water vapor is reached at a slight increase in humidity and with a much larger greenhouse effect than that due to CO2 alone. This feedback effect can only be reversed slowly as CO2 has a long average atmospheric lifetime.
Feedback effects due to clouds are an area of ongoing research and debate. Seen from below, clouds emit infrared radiation back to the surface, and so exert a warming effect. Seen from above, the same clouds reflect sunlight and emit infrared radiation to space, and so exert a cooling effect. Increased global water vapor concentration may or may not cause an increase in global average cloud cover. The net effect of clouds thus has not been well modeled, however, cloud feedback is second only to water vapor feedback and is positive in all the models that contributed to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.
Another important feedback process is ice-albedo feedback. The increased CO2 in the atmosphere warms the Earth's surface and leads to melting of ice near the poles. As the ice melts, land or open water takes its place. Both land and open water are on average less reflective than ice, and thus absorb more solar radiation. This causes more warming, which in turn causes more melting, and this cycle continues.
Positive feedback due to release of CO2 and CH4 from thawing permafrost is an additional mechanism contributing to warming. Possible positive feedback due to CH4 release from melting seabed ices is a further mechanism to be considered.
The ocean's ability to sequester carbon is expected to decline as it warms, because the resulting low nutrient levels of the mesopelagic zone limits the growth of diatoms in favour of smaller phytoplankton that are poorer biological pumps of carbon.
Solar variation over the last 30 years.
Main article: Solar variation
Variations in solar output, possibly amplified by cloud feedbacks, may have contributed to recent warming. A difference between this mechanism and greenhouse warming is that an increase in solar activity should produce a warming of the stratosphere while greenhouse warming should produce a cooling of the stratosphere. Reduction of stratospheric ozone also has a cooling influence but substantial ozone depletion did not occur until the late 1970s. Cooling in the lower stratosphere has been observed since at least 1960. Thus, solar activity alone is not the main contributor to recent warming.
Phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes have probably had a warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950, but a cooling effect since 1950. However, some research has suggested that the Sun's contribution may have been underestimated. Two researchers at Duke University have estimated that the Sun may have contributed about 40–50% of the global surface temperature warming over the period 1900–2000, and about 25–35% between 1980 and 2000. Stott and coauthors suggest that climate models overestimate the relative effect of greenhouse gases compared to solar forcing; they also suggest that the cooling effects of volcanic dust and sulfate aerosols have been underestimated. Nevertheless, they conclude that even with an enhanced climate sensitivity to solar forcing, most of the warming during the latest decades is attributable to the increases in greenhouse gases.
Curves of reconstructed temperature at two locations in Antarctica and a global record of variations in glacial ice volume. Today's date is on the left side of the graph.
Main article: Temperature record
From the present to the dawn of human settlement
Global temperatures on both land and sea have increased by 0.75 °C (1.4 °F) relative to the period 1860–1900, according to the instrumental temperature record. This measured temperature increase is not significantly affected by the urban heat island. Since 1979, land temperatures have increased about twice as fast as ocean temperatures (0.25 °C per decade against 0.13 °C per decade). Temperatures in the lower troposphere have increased between 0.12 and 0.22 °C (0.22 and 0.4 °F) per decade since 1979, according to satellite temperature measurements. Temperature is believed to have been relatively stable over the one or two thousand years before 1850, with possibly regional fluctuations such as the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age.
Based on estimates by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2005 was the warmest year since reliable, widespread instrumental measurements became available in the late 1800s, exceeding the previous record set in 1998 by a few hundredths of a degree. Estimates prepared by the World Meteorological Organization and the Climatic Research Unit concluded that 2005 was the second warmest year, behind 1998.
Anthropogenic emissions of other pollutants—notably sulfate aerosols—can exert a cooling effect by increasing the reflection of incoming sunlight. This partially accounts for the cooling seen in the temperature record in the middle of the twentieth century, though the cooling may also be due in part to natural variability.
Paleoclimatologist William Ruddiman has argued that human influence on the global climate began around 8,000 years ago with the start of forest clearing to provide land for agriculture and 5,000 years ago with the start of Asian rice irrigation. Ruddiman's interpretation of the historical record, with respect to the methane data, has been disputed.
Pre-human climate variations
Two millennia of mean surface temperatures according to different reconstructions, each smoothed on a decadal scale. The unsmoothed, annual value for 2004 is also plotted for reference.
Further information: Paleoclimatology
See also: Snowball Earth
Earth has experienced warming and cooling many times in the past. The recent Antarctic EPICA ice core spans 800,000 years, including eight glacial cycles timed by orbital variations with interglacial warm periods comparable to present temperatures.
A rapid buildup of greenhouse gases caused warming in the early Jurassic period (about 180 million years ago), with average temperatures rising by 5 °C (9.0 °F). Research by the Open University indicates that the warming caused the rate of rock weathering to increase by 400%. As such weathering locks away carbon in calcite and dolomite, CO2 levels dropped back to normal over roughly the next 150,000 years.
Sudden releases of methane from clathrate compounds (the clathrate gun hypothesis) have been hypothesized as a cause for other warming events in the distant past, including the Permian-Triassic extinction event (about 251 million years ago) and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (about 55 million years ago).
The projected temperature increase for a range of stabilization scenarios (the coloured bands). The black line in middle of the shaded area indicates 'best estimates'; the red and the blue lines the likely limits. From the work of IPCC AR4, 2007.
Calculations of global warming prepared in or before 2001 from a range of climate models under the SRES A2 emissions scenario, which assumes no action is taken to reduce emissions.
The geographic distribution of surface warming during the 21st century calculated by the HadCM3 climate model if a business as usual scenario is assumed for economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. In this figure, the globally averaged warming corresponds to 3.0 °C (5.4 °F).
Main article: Global climate model
Scientists have studied global warming with computer models of the climate. These models are based on physical principles of fluid dynamics, radiative transfer, and other processes, with some simplifications being necessary because of limitations in computer power. These models predict that the net effect of adding greenhouse gases is to produce a warmer climate. However, even when the same assumptions of fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emission are used, the amount of projected warming varies between models and there still remains a considerable range of climate sensitivity.
Including uncertainties in future greenhouse gas concentrations and climate modelling, the IPCC anticipates a warming of 1.1 °C to 6.4 °C (2.0 °F to 11.5 °F) between 1990 and 2100. Models have also been used to help investigate the causes of recent climate change by comparing the observed changes to those that the models project from various natural and human derived causes.
Climate models can produce a good match to observations of global temperature changes over the last century, but cannot yet simulate all aspects of climate. These models do not unambiguously attribute the warming that occurred from approximately 1910 to 1945 to either natural variation or human effects; however, they suggest that the warming since 1975 is dominated by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Most global climate models, when run to project future climate, are forced by imposed greenhouse gas scenarios, generally one from the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). Less commonly, models may be run by adding a simulation of the carbon cycle; this generally shows a positive feedback, though this response is uncertain (under the A2 SRES scenario, responses vary between an extra 20 and 200 ppm of CO2). Some observational studies also show a positive feedback.
The representation of clouds is one of the main sources of uncertainty in present-generation models, though progress is being made on this problem. There is also an ongoing discussion as to whether climate models are neglecting important indirect and feedback effects of solar variability.
Attributed and expected effects
Main article: Effects of global warming
Sparse records indicate that glaciers have been retreating since the early 1800s. In the 1950s measurements began that allow the monitoring of glacial mass balance, reported to the WGMS and the NSIDC.
Some effects on both the natural environment and human life are, at least in part, already being attributed to global warming. A 2001 report by the IPCC suggests that glacier retreat, ice shelf disruption such as the Larsen Ice Shelf, sea level rise, changes in rainfall patterns, increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, are being attributed in part to global warming. While changes are expected for overall patterns, intensity, and frequencies, it is difficult to attribute specific events to global warming. Other expected effects include water scarcity in some regions and increased precipitation in others, changes in mountain snowpack, adverse health effects from warmer temperatures.
Increasing deaths, displacements, and economic losses projected due to extreme weather attributed to global warming may be exacerbated by growing population densities in affected areas, although temperate regions are projected to experience some minor benefits, such as fewer deaths due to cold exposure. A summary of probable effects and recent understanding can be found in the report made for the IPCC Third Assessment Report by Working Group II. The newer IPCC Fourth Assessment Report summary reports that there is observational evidence for an increase in intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic Ocean since about 1970, in correlation with the increase in sea surface temperature, but that the detection of long-term trends is complicated by the quality of records prior to routine satellite observations. The summary also states that there is no clear trend in the annual worldwide number of tropical cyclones.
Additional anticipated effects include sea level rise of 110 to 770 millimeters (0.36 to 2.5 ft) between 1990 and 2100, repercussions to agriculture, possible slowing of the thermohaline circulation, reductions in the ozone layer, increased intensity and frequency of hurricanes and extreme weather events, lowering of ocean pH, and the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. One study predicts 18% to 35% of a sample of 1,103 animal and plant species would be extinct by 2050, based on future climate projections. Two populations of Bay checkerspot butterfly are being threatened by changes in precipitation, though few mechanistic studies have documented extinctions due to recent climate change.
Main article: Economics of global warming
Some economists have tried to estimate the aggregate net economic costs of damages from climate change across the globe. Such estimates have so far failed to reach conclusive findings; in a survey of 100 estimates, the values ran from US$-10 per tonne of carbon (tC) (US$-3 per tonne of carbon dioxide) up to US$350/tC (US$95 per tonne of carbon dioxide), with a mean of US$43 per tonne of carbon (US$12 per tonne of carbon dioxide). One widely-publicized report on potential economic impact is the Stern Review; it suggests that extreme weather might reduce global gross domestic product by up to 1%, and that in a worst case scenario global per capita consumption could fall 20%. The report's methodology, advocacy and conclusions has been criticized by many economists, primarily around the Review's assumptions of discounting and its choices of scenarios. , while others have supported the general attempt to quantify economic risk, even if not the specific numbers .
In a summary of economic cost associated with climate change, the United Nations Environment Programme emphasizes the risks to insurers, reinsurers, and banks of increasingly traumatic and costly weather events. Other economic sectors likely to face difficulties related to climate change include agriculture and transport. Developing countries, rather than the developed world, are at greatest economic risk.
Mitigation and adaptation
Main articles: Mitigation of global warming, adaptation to global warming, and Kyoto Protocol
The broad agreement among climate scientists that global temperatures will continue to increase has led nations, states, corporations and individuals to implement actions to try to curtail global warming or adjust to it. Many environmental groups encourage action against global warming, often by the consumer, but also by community and regional organizations. There has been business action on climate change, including efforts at increased energy efficiency and (still limited) moves to alternative fuels. One important innovation has been the development of greenhouse gas emissions trading through which companies, in conjunction with government, agree to cap their emissions or to purchase credits from those below their allowances.
The world's primary international agreement on combating global warming is the Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), negotiated in 1997. The Protocol now covers more than 160 countries globally and over 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The United States (historically the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter), Australia, and Kazakhstan have not ratified the treaty. China and India, two other large emitters, have ratified the treaty but, as developing countries, are exempt from its provisions. This treaty expires in 2012, and international talks began in May 2007 on a future treaty to succeed the current one.
The world's primary body for crafting a response is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN-sponsored activity which holds periodic meetings between national delegations on the problems of global warming, and issues working papers and assessments on the current status of the science of climate change, impacts, and mitigation. It convenes four different working groups examining various specific issues. For example, in May 2007, the IPCC held conferences in Bonn, Germany, and in Bangkok, Thailand.
Issue debate and political processes
Main articles: Global warming controversy and politics of global warming
Increased awareness of the scientific findings surrounding global warming has resulted in political and economic debate. Poor regions, particularly Africa, appear at greatest risk from the suggested effects of global warming, while their actual emissions have been negligible compared to the developed world. At the same time, developing country exemptions from provisions of the Kyoto Protocol have been criticized by the United States and been used as part of its justification for continued non-ratification. In the Western world, the idea of human influence on climate and efforts to combat it has gained wider acceptance in Europe than in the United States.
Fossil fuel companies such as ExxonMobil and some think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute have campaigned to downplay the risks of climate change, while environmental groups have launched campaigns emphasizing the risks. Recently, some fossil fuel companies have scaled back such efforts or called for policies to reduce global warming.
This issue has sparked debate in the U.S. about the benefits of limiting industrial emissions of greenhouse gases to reduce impacts to the climate, versus the effects on economic activity. There has also been discussion in several countries about the cost of adopting alternate, cleaner energy sources in order to reduce emissions.
Another point of debate is the degree to which newly-developed economies, like India and China, should be expected to constrain their emissions. China's CO2 emissions are expected to exceed those of the U.S. within the next few years (and according to one report may have already done so).
Related climatic issues
Main articles: Ocean acidification, global dimming, and ozone depletion
A variety of issues are often raised in relation to global warming. One is ocean acidification. Increased atmospheric CO2 increases the amount of CO2 dissolved in the oceans. CO2 dissolved in the ocean reacts with water to form carbonic acid resulting in acidification. Ocean surface pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14 since the beginning of the industrial era, and it is estimated that it will drop by a further 0.14 to 0.5 units by 2100 as the ocean absorbs more CO2. Since organisms and ecosystems are adapted to a narrow range of pH, this raises extinction concerns, directly driven by increased atmospheric CO2, that could disrupt food webs and impact human societies that depend on marine ecosystem services.
Another related issue that may have partially mitigated global warming in the late twentieth century is global dimming, the gradual reduction in the amount of global direct irradiance at the Earth's surface. From 1960 to 1990 human-caused aerosols likely precipitated this effect. Scientists have stated with 66–90% confidence that the effects of human-caused aerosols, along with volcanic activity, have offset some of global warming, and that greenhouse gases would have resulted in more warming than observed if not for these dimming agents.
Ozone depletion, the steady decline in the total amount of ozone in Earth's stratosphere, is frequently cited in relation to global warming. Although there are areas of linkage, the relationship between the two is not strong.
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· Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
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· NASA Finds Sun-Climate Connection in Old Nile Records
· News in Science - Night flights are worse for global warming - 15/06/2006
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· The Pew Center on global climate change
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· Global Warming News & Articles Portal
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· Science and Technology Librarianship: Global Warming and Climate Change Science – Extensive commented list of Internet resources – Science and Technology Sources on the Internet.
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· Indonesia Counts Its Islands Before It Is Too Late
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· Climate Counts - corporate watchdog
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Global warming and Climate change (Category:Global warming and Category:Climate change)
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