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Terminology

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The most general definition of climate change is a change in the statistical properties of the climate system when considered over long periods of time, regardless of cause.[2] Accordingly, fluctuations over periods shorter than a few decades, such as El Niño, do not represent climate change.



The term sometimes is used to refer specifically to climate change caused by human activity, as opposed to changes in climate that may have resulted as part of Earth's natural processes.[3] 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 will affect. Global Warming Facts, Causes and Effects of Climate Change. Q: What causes global warming?

Global Warming Facts, Causes and Effects of Climate Change

A: Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface. Normally, this radiation would escape into space—but these pollutants, which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter. In the United States, the burning of fossil fuels to make electricity is the largest source of heat-trapping pollution, producing about two billion tons of CO2 every year. Coal-burning power plants are by far the biggest polluters. The country’s second-largest source of carbon pollution is the transportation sector, which generates about 1.7 billion tons of CO2 emissions a year. Greenhouse gas emissions accounting. Greenhouse gas emissions accounting is a method of calculating the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by a region in a given time-scale.

Greenhouse gas emissions accounting

A National Emissions Inventory (NEI) measuring a country’s GHG emissions in a year is required by the UNFCCC to provide a benchmark for the country’s emission reductions, and subsequently to evaluate international climate policies such as the Kyoto protocol (although the original has now expired, extensions have been agreed) as well as regional climate policies such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).[1] There are two conflicting ways of measuring GHG emissions: production-based (sometimes referred to as territorial-based) or consumption-based.

Climate Change Facts: Answers to Common Questions. This page answers some of the most commonly asked questions about climate change and its impacts.

Climate Change Facts: Answers to Common Questions

Explore more questions using our Frequently Asked Questions Database. + Show All Responses Is there a scientific consensus on climate change? Answer. Geologic temperature record. Evidence for past temperatures[edit] Our evidence for past temperatures comes mainly from isotopic considerations (especially δ18O); the Mg/Ca ratio of foram tests, and alkenones, are also useful.

Geologic temperature record

Often, many are used in conjunction to get a multi-proxy estimate for the temperature. This has proved crucial in studies on glacial/interglacial temperature.[1] Economics of global warming. There are a number of policies that governments might consider in response to global warming.

Economics of global warming

Global cooling. Mean temperature anomalies during the period 1965 to 1975 with respect to the average temperatures from 1937 to 1946.

Global cooling

This dataset was not available at the time. ImageSource:SkepticalScience. Glossary of climate change. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Main article: Climate change This article serves as a glossary of climate change terms.

Glossary of climate change

It lists terms that are related to global warming. 0-9[edit] CLIMATE 101. Blue carbon. Extreme weather. Extreme weather includes unusual, severe or unseasonal weather; weather at the extremes of the historical distribution—the range that has been seen in the past.[1] Often, extreme events are based on a location’s recorded weather history and defined as lying in the most unusual ten percent.[2] In recent years some extreme weather events have been attributed to human-induced global warming,[3][4][5] with studies indicating an increasing threat from extreme weather in the future.[6][7] §Costs[edit] According to IPCC (2011) estimates of annual losses have ranged since 1980 from a few billion to above US$200 billion (in 2010 dollars), with the highest value for 2005 (the year of Hurricane Katrina).

Extreme weather

The global weather-related disaster losses reported over the last few decades reflect mainly monetized direct damages to assets, and are unequally distributed. Abrupt climate change. Greenhouse gas. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (taken as the year 1750), the burning of fossil fuels and extensive clearing of native forests has contributed to a 40% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, from 280 ppm in 1750 to 392.6 ppm in 2012.[5][6] It has now reached 400 ppm in the northern hemisphere.

Greenhouse gas

In the Solar System, the atmospheres of Venus, Mars, and Titan also contain gases that cause a greenhouse effect, though Titan's atmosphere has an anti-greenhouse effect that reduces the warming. Gases in Earth's atmosphere[edit] Greenhouse gases[edit] Greenhouse gases are those that can absorb and emit infrared radiation,[1] but not radiation in or near the visible spectrum. In order, the most abundant greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are: Non-greenhouse gases[edit] Although contributing to many other physical and chemical reactions, the major atmospheric constituents, nitrogen (N 2), oxygen (O 2), and argon (Ar), are not greenhouse gases.

El Niño. "El Nina" redirects here.

El Niño

It is not to be confused with La Niña. The 1997–98 El Niño observed by TOPEX/Poseidon. Environmental policy. Definition[edit] It is useful to consider that environmental policy comprises two major terms: environment and policy. Environment refers to the physical ecosystems, but can also take into consideration the social dimension (quality of life, health) and an economic dimension (resource management, biodiversity).[2] Policy can be defined as a "course of action or principle adopted or proposed by a government, party, business or individual".[3] Thus, environmental policy focuses on problems arising from human impact on the environment, which retroacts onto human society by having a (negative) impact on human values such as good health or the 'clean and green' environment.

Human impact on the environment.