Climate change

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This page is focused on evidence, local predictions, and planning related to the broadly accepted theory of human-induced global warming. That theory has resulted from the convergence of multiple lines of evidence that describe:

  1. the greenhouse effect of CO2 gas in an atmosphere
  2. the recent dramatic increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere only explained by human activity
  3. the observed recent increase in mean earth surface temperature.
  4. the paleolithic record showing a relationship between carbon dioxide concentration and earth surface temperature
  5. our inability to explain temperature increase from factors other than CO2 concentration
  6. observed increases in sea level, reduced polar ice coverage, and global glacier retreat.
  7. global climate modelling which both validates the CO2 theory, and identifies feedback mechanisms anticipated to accelerate warming

This increase in surface temperature and CO2 concentration are anticipated to drive predicable changes in precipitation patterns, summer high temperatures, sea level, ocean acidity, and other dynamics that fundamentally affect ecosystem functions, and the human society and economy. The vast majority of new research appears to be focused on understanding the rate and dynamics of global warming.

Lines of Evidence

graph of recorded earth temperature change since 1850
  • "The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence was further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838, and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859. The effect was more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. However, the term "greenhouse" was not used to refer to this effect by any of these scientists; the term was first used in this way by Nils Gustaf Ekholm in 1901" (Wikipedia 3/7/2016.)
  • Berkeley Earth is an independent research group developed by Richard Muller, who was skeptical of the quality of historical temperature record, and the selective use of temperature data, and developed a privately funded project between 2010 and 2014 to redevelop the recorded earth temperature record, using all available data and a transparent methodology. That work verified global warming observations. This work led Dr. Muller to change his stance on the recorded temperature record.
  • Antarctic ice cores stored at Oak Ridge National Laboratory provide a 800,000 record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and temperature at the time of ice formation, used to verify the linkage between CO2 concentration and earth surface temperature.
  • The Mona Loa continuous carbon concentration record documents recent and continuous increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (See Scripps university for visualization)

Other Resources

Potential Topics

It may be useful to more concisely summarize evidence and ongoing efforts around the following potential topics (based in part on the Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment). There may be several ways to organize information given the interactions among drivers, feedback loops, and the potential to organize information by either impacts or drivers:

Pages

The following pages are categorized under climate change:


The following documents are categorized under climate change: