What Is Climate Change?

What Is Climate Change?

When we look at the graphs of rising ocean temperatures, rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and so on, we know that they are climbing far more steeply than can be accounted for by the natural oscillation of the weather … What people (must) do is to change their behavior and their attitudes … If we do care about our grandchildren then we have to do something, and we have to demand that our governments do something.

- David Attenborough, "Climate is changing" (24 May 2006)

Podcast of the Day

In this three part series Roger Harrabin examines the science, politics and solutions of climate. In the first of this series he looks at the science behind climate change. Predicting the future climate is a pretty tricky business and over the last twenty five years or so its had a chequered history. Roger talks to the scientists about their models and asks if they are accurate enough or should they just be consigned to the dustbin. He takes tea with the leading US politician who simply won't be convinced of man-made climate change. He meets the "luke-warmers" who believe in climate change but don't think the planet will warm as much as predicted. He will also examine the current predictions and how confident we should be.

Listen to Changing Climate: The Science with Roger Harrabin

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

The planet's climate has constantly been changing over geological time. The global average temperature today is about 15C, though geological evidence suggests it has been much higher and lower in the past.

However, the current period of warming is occurring more rapidly than many past events. Scientists are concerned that the natural fluctuation, or variability, is being overtaken by a rapid human-induced warming that has serious implications for the stability of the planet's climate...

Continue reading: What is Climate Change?

Further Reading

On the broadest scale, the rate at which energy is received from the Sun and the rate at which it is lost to space determine the equilibrium temperature and climate of Earth. This energy is distributed around the globe by winds, ocean currents, and other mechanisms to affect the climates of different regions.

Factors that can shape climate are called climate forcings or "forcing mechanisms". These include processes such as variations in solar radiation, variations in the Earth's orbit, variations in the albedo or reflectivity of the continents, atmosphere, and oceans, mountain-building and continental drift and changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. There are a variety of climate change feedbacks that can either amplify or diminish the initial forcing. Some parts of the climate system, such as the oceans and ice caps, respond more slowly in reaction to climate forcings, while others respond more quickly. There are also key threshold factors which when exceeded can produce rapid change...

Continue reading the Wikipedia article on Climate Change

Find the best introductory resources on a new topic each day.

Global Catastrophic Risks | Science | Sociology

Each day I post the best introductory resources I can find on an important philosophical, scientific or historical topic. By collecting the best educational content the internet has to offer, I hope to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get into the habit of learning something valuable every day. If you’d like to join me, simply enter your email below:

[mc4wp_form id="204"]

Know of a video, podcast, or article that deserves to be featured? Get in touch on Twitter or Facebook.

Posted by in Ideas