The Science Behind Climate Change
change is happening!
average temperatures have already increased 1.4°F since the start
of the 20th century. They are expected to increase by up to
another 11°F in the next hundred years.
Yet many people think
that climate change is just one of the Earth's natural cycles.
It is not! The
rate of climate change we are seeing is roughly 100 times faster than
normal. This is directly linked to the rate of greenhouse gases being
generated by humans.
One of the main indicators of
this is comparing the increase in surface temperature and the increase
in greenhouse gases (mostly
Before the Industrial Revolution,
the amount of CO2 released to the atmosphere was
about equal to the amount that the atmosphere could absorb.
However, due to the increased burning of fossil fuels, the CO2
levels have risen drastically, and the atmosphere is getting
an excess CO2. Half of the excess is being
absorbed by oceans and plants, the other half is just accumulating
in the atmosphere.
This creates what is known
as "The Greenhouse Effect". The Greenhouse Effect
is a natural occurrence whereby the greenhouse gases allow sunlight
to enter the Earth's atmosphere, but trap some of the outgoing
infrared radiation, warming the Earth's surface more than what
would occur otherwise.
Since 1978, the energy reaching
Earth has been measured by satellites. These measurements have
not increased significantly since 1978, meaning the warming
is not coming from an increase in sunlight. Also, there have
not been any significant increases or decreases in the numbers
of volcanic eruptions. (Volcanic eruptions reflect sunlight
back to space, creating cooling). Therefore there is no known
naturally occurring reason why the Earth should be warming.
and Responding to Climate Change, Highlights Of National Academies
Reports, 2008 Edition, The National Academies, Advisors To The Nation
On Science, Engineering, And Medicine
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"Connecting the Dots"
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