Portal:Global warming

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Global warming

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Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and the oceans since the mid-twentieth century and its projected continuation. Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100 years ending in 2005. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that anthropogenic (human-sourced) greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the twentieth century, and natural phenomena such as solar variation and volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward. These basic conclusions have been endorsed by more than 40 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

Climate model projections summarized in the latest IPCC report indicate that global surface temperature will probably rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the twenty-first century. The uncertainty in this estimate arises from the use of models with differing climate sensitivity, and the use of differing estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions. Some other uncertainties include how warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe. Although most studies focus on the period up to 2100, warming is expected to continue beyond 2100, even if emissions have stopped, because of the large heat capacity of the oceans and the lifespan of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Pictured left: 1999-2008 Mean temperatures: This figure shows the difference in instrumentally determined surface temperatures between the period January 1999 through December 2008 and "normal" temperatures at the same locations, defined to be the average over the interval January 1940 to December 1980. The average increase on this graph is 0.48 °C, and the widespread temperature increases are considered to be an aspect of global warming. Source: NASA

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Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Plant Productivity in a Warming World: The past decade is the warmest on record since instrumental measurements began in the 1880s. Previous research suggested that in the '80s and '90s, warmer global temperatures and higher levels of precipitation—factors associated with climate change—were generally good for plant productivity. An updated analysis published this week in Science indicates that as temperatures have continued to rise, the benefits to plants are now overwhelmed by longer and more frequent droughts. High-resolution data from the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, indicate a net decrease in net primary production (NPP) from 2000-2009, as compared to the previous two decades. This narrated video gives an overview of NPP and the carbon cycle.

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Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand is a non-fiction book about climate change denial, coauthored by Haydn Washington and John Cook, with a foreword by Naomi Oreskes. Oreskes writes in her foreword to the book that fear is the primary motivation for individuals to engage in denial. The book presents an in-depth analysis and refutation of climate change denial, going over several arguments point-by-point and disproving them with peer-reviewed evidence from the scientific consensus for climate change. The authors assert that those denying climate change engage in tactics including cherry picking data purports to support their specific viewpoints, and attacking the integrity of climate scientists. They use social science theory to examine the phenomenon of climate change denial in the wider public, and call this phenomenon a form of pathology that afflicts the culture of the planet. The authors lament that an inverse relationship exists between an increasing scientific consensus regarding climate change, and a simultaneous increase in denial within the greater public about the same issue.

The book traces financial support for climate change denial to the fossil fuel industry, asserting these companies have attempted to influence public opinion on the matter. Washington and Cook write that politicians have a tendency to use weasel words as part of a propaganda tactic through use of spin, as a way to deflect public interest away from climate change and remain passive on the issue. The authors conclude that if the public ceased engaging in denial, the problem of climate change could be realistically addressed.

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Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (March 21, 1768 – May 16, 1830) was a French mathematician and physicist best known for initiating the investigation of Fourier series and their application to problems of heat flow. The Fourier transform is also named in his honour. Fourier is also generally credited with the discovery of the greenhouse effect.

Fourier was born at Auxerre (now in the Yonne département of France), the son of a tailor. He was orphaned at age nine. Fourier was recommended to the Bishop of Auxerre, and through this introduction, he was educated by the Benvenistes of the Convent of St. Mark. The commissions in the scientific corps of the army were reserved for those of good birth, and being thus ineligible, he accepted a military lectureship on mathematics. He took a prominent part in his own district in promoting the French Revolution, and was rewarded by an appointment in 1795 in the École Normale Supérieure, and subsequently by a chair at the École Polytechnique.

In 1822 Fourier presented his work on heat flow in Théorie analytique de la chaleur (The Analytic Theory of heat), in which he based his reasoning on Newton's law of cooling, namely, that the flow of heat between two adjacent molecules is proportional to the extremely small difference of their temperatures. A significant contribution was Fourier's proposal of his partial differential equation for conductive diffusion of heat. This equation is now taught to every student of mathematical physics.

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Antarctica temps2 1957-2006.jpg
Credit: NASA

Image showing the temperature trend in Antarctica between 1957 and 2006

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...Arctic haze contributes to global warming, raising temperatures by up to 5.4°C (3°F) during the arctic winter? A major distinguishing factor of Arctic haze is the ability of its chemical ingredients to persist in the atmosphere for an extended period of time compared to other pollutants.
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