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Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended

period of time (i.e., decades to millions of years). Climate change may refer to a change in average weather
conditions, or in the time variation of weather around longer-term average conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme
weather events). Climate change is caused by factors such as biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received
by Earth, plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions. Certain human activities have also been identified as significant
causes of recent climate change, often referred to as "global warming".[1] Scientists actively work to understand past
and future climate by using observations and theoretical models. A climate recordextending deep into the Earth's
pasthas been assembled, and continues to be built up, based on geological evidence fromborehole temperature
profiles, cores removed from deep accumulations of ice, floral and faunal records, glacial and periglacialprocesses,
stable-isotope and other analyses of sediment layers, and records of past sea levels. More recent data are provided
by the instrumental record. General circulation models, based on the physical sciences, are often used in theoretical
approaches to match past climate data, make future projections, and link causes and effects in climate change.

Causes 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".[6] These include processes such as variations in solar
radiation, variations in the Earth's orbit, variations in the albedo or reflectivity of the continents and oceans, mountainbuilding 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. Forcing mechanisms can be either "internal"
or "external". Internal forcing mechanisms are natural processes within the climate system itself (e.g.,
the thermohaline circulation). External forcing mechanisms can be either natural (e.g., changes in solar output) or
anthropogenic (e.g., increased emissions of greenhouse gases). Whether the initial forcing mechanism is internal or
external, the response of the climate system might be fast (e.g., a sudden cooling due to airborne volcanic
ash reflecting sunlight), slow (e.g. thermal expansion of warming ocean water), or a combination (e.g.,
sudden loss of albedo in the arctic ocean as sea ice melts, followed by more gradual thermal expansion of the water).
Therefore, the climate system can respond abruptly, but the full response to forcing mechanisms might not be fully
developed for centuries or even longer.

Why climate is changing -

Burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas releases greenhouses gases such as carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere that was on its way out to space, causing Earth's
greenhouse effect to grow more intense, warming the climate.
Effect- Changes in climate affect the average weather conditions that we are accustomed to. Warmer average
temperatures will likely lead to hotter days and more frequent and longer heat waves. This could increase the number
of heat-related illnesses and deaths.
Global climate change will affect people and the environment in many ways. Some of these impacts, like stronger
hurricanes and severe heat waves, could be life threatening. Others, like spreading weeds, will be less serious. And
some effects, like longer growing seasons for crops, might even be good!

Climate change is real. The science is compelling. And the longer we wait, the harder the problem will be
to solve. Senator John Kerry

Effects on People and the Environment How will climate


change affect you? Your community? The environment around you?
climate change will affect people and the environment in many ways. Some of these
impacts, like stronger hurricanes and severe heat waves, could be life threatening. Others,
like spreading weeds, will be less serious. And some effects, like longer growing seasons
for crops, might even be good! However, as the Earth keeps getting warmer, the negative
effects are expected to outweigh the positive ones.
The more we learn about how climate change will affect people and the environment, the more we can
see why people need to take action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate
change. We can also take steps to prepare for the changes we know are coming.
Learn more about how climate change will affect people and the environment in the following ways:

Climate change is often thought of in terms of its effects on our physical environment: melting
icecaps, rising sea levels, heat-waves and storms. But increasing evidence shows that the
human impact and in particular the impact on human health will be a major challenge for
scientists, politicians and ordinary people in years to come. The precise extent of the impact is
difficult to quantify exactly because there are so many different factors at play. But one thing is
certain: climate change is having an effect, and as the planet warms up, that effect is only going

How Will Climate Change Affect the World and


Society? January 16th, 2012
to increase.

Climate change is already affecting the planet and society and will continue to do so for generations to come. The
physical and chemical changes of human activities are being felt in natural ecosystems on land and at sea, on
farms and ranches, and in cities and suburbs, but the changes are not happening uniformly. Differences in how
regions are affected by varying degrees of warming, precipitation, and changes of animal and plant species are
likely to get even more extreme as climate change continues. Some areas may actually get a bit cooler for a while!
Similarly for rainfall, some parts of the planet will get drier, while others will get more precipitation in more
extreme events.
The poles have already seen the greatest warming, and will continue to warm more rapidly than other areas.
Already were seeing record losses of ice in the Arctic. That melting ice contributes to rising sea levels, affecting
the entire planet. In addition, warm water expands, so sea levels will rise as the atmosphere warms. The ocean
has risen 4-8 inches (10-20 centimeters) globally over the last hundred years. As sea level continues to rise,

flooding and storm surges will threaten freshwater sources, as well as coastal homes and buildings. Coastal
facilities and barrier islands in many parts of the world are gradually submerging, and some low-lying islands have
already had to be evacuated, as Australias The Age (July 29, 2009) describes happening in the Carteret Islands of
Papua New Guinea.