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 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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This video summarizes how climate change, associated with increased carbon dioxide levels, has affected plant growth.

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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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James E Hansen.jpg
James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941) heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

After graduate school, Hansen continued his work with radiative transfer models, attempting to understand the Venusian atmosphere. Later he applied and refined these models to understand the Earth's atmosphere, in particular, the effects that aerosols and trace gases have on Earth's climate. Hansen's development and use of global climate models has contributed to the further understanding of the Earth's climate.

Hansen has stated that one of his research interests is radiative transfer in planetary atmospheres, especially the interpretation of remote sensing of the Earth's atmosphere and surface from satellites. Because of the ability of satellites to monitor the entire globe, they may be one of the most effective ways to monitor and study global change. His other interests include the development of global circulation models to help understand the observed climate trends, and diagnosing human impacts on climate.

Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change. In recent years, Hansen has become an activist for action to mitigate the effects of climate change, which on a few occasions has led to his arrest. In 2009 his first book, Storms of My Grandchildren, was published.


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Global vegetation – Food, fuel and shelter. Vegetation is one of the most important requirements for human populations around the world. Satellites monitor how "green" different parts of the planet are and how that greenness changes over time. These observations help scientists understand the influence of natural cycles, such as drought and pest outbreaks, on vegetation, as well as human influences, such as land-clearing and global warming.

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Hurricane Isabel from ISS.jpg
...that ocean warming has been found to result in stronger hurricanes? Article on Nature News

(Pictured left: Hurricane Isabel (2003) as seen from orbit during Expedition 7 of the International Space Station. )

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