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Global Climate Change
Global Climate
• Identifiable change in the climate of
Earth as a whole that lasts for an
extended period of time (decades or
– Usually refers to changes forced by human
activities that change the atmosphere
What causes Earth’s
climate to change?
 Changes in the atmosphere
 Natural processes
 Volcanoes
 Tectonic plate movement
 Changes in the sun
 Human activities – any activity that releases
“greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere
Greenhouse effect
 The greenhouse effect is the
warming of Earth's surface and
the air above it, caused by
gases in the air that trap energy
from the sun.
What are
greenhouse gases?
Any gases that cause the “greenhouse
Imagine… a car on a cool but sunny day…
Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC)
 Why was it
 Created in 1988 by
the United Nations
 Established to
provide policymakers with an
objective source of
information about
climate change
Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC)
 What do they do?
 Review current scientific and technical
literature relevant to global climate change
 Provide reports on their findings at regular
 Reports are designed to be politically
neutral and of high scientific and technical
Changes and Effects
Warming of Climate
• Warming of the climate is definitely
occurring and can be observed by the:
– Increases in global sea and air temperatures
– Widespread melting of snow and ice
– Rising global sea level
Other Observed Changes and Effects
• 89% of current changes in ecosystems are
consistent with changes expected due to global
climate change
• Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide
levels in atmosphere have increased greatly due
to human activities since 1750 and now far
exceed previous levels
• Carbon dioxide has increased by approximately
80% since 1970
• Warming and sea level rise will
continue and will probably occur more
quickly than what we’ve already seen
• Even if greenhouse gases are stabilized,
this will probably continue to occur for
• Some effects may be permanent
• Effects on Ecosystems
–Coral systems cannot handle higher
temperatures well
–Wildfires will increase
–Up to 30% of species will be at increased
risk for extinction due to the rapid
changes in their ecosystems
• Effects in North America
– Warming in western mountains: several
– Increased rain: will actually help some crops
– Heat waves will increase in number, length,
and intensity
– Coastal communities will be affected by
increased flooding and storms
There are several types of options…
• Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases
• Attempt to develop alternatives energies
• Allow emission to continue, but prepare for
global climate changes
• Allow emissions to continue as normal and
leave preparations up to individual countries
• Combine any of these ideas
• Come up with your own unique plan!