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Climatechange
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Climatechangeisachangeinthestatisticaldistributionofweatherpatternswhenthatchangelastsforan
extendedperiodoftime(i.e.,decadestomillionsofyears).Climatechangemayrefertoachangeinaverage
weatherconditions,orinthetimevariationofweatheraroundlongertermaverageconditions(i.e.,moreor
fewerextremeweatherevents).Climatechangeiscausedbyfactorssuchasbioticprocesses,variationsinsolar
radiationreceivedbyEarth,platetectonics,andvolcaniceruptions.Certainhumanactivitieshavealsobeen
identifiedassignificantcausesofrecentclimatechange,oftenreferredtoasglobalwarming.[1]

Scientistsactivelyworktounderstandpastandfutureclimatebyusingobservationsandtheoreticalmodels.A
climaterecordextendingdeepintotheEarth'spasthasbeenassembled,andcontinuestobebuiltup,based
ongeologicalevidencefromboreholetemperatureprofiles,coresremovedfromdeepaccumulationsofice,
floralandfaunalrecords,glacialandperiglacialprocesses,stableisotopeandotheranalysesofsedimentlayers,
andrecordsofpastsealevels.Morerecentdataareprovidedbytheinstrumentalrecord.Generalcirculation
models,basedonthephysicalsciences,areoftenusedintheoreticalapproachestomatchpastclimatedata,
makefutureprojections,andlinkcausesandeffectsinclimatechange.

Contents
1 Terminology
2 Causes
2.1 Internalforcingmechanisms
2.1.1 Oceanatmospherevariability
2.1.2 Life
2.2 Externalforcingmechanisms
2.2.1 Orbitalvariations
2.2.2 Solaroutput
2.2.3 Volcanism
2.2.4 Platetectonics
2.2.5 Humaninfluences
3 Physicalevidence
3.1 Temperaturemeasurementsandproxies
3.2 Historicalandarchaeologicalevidence
3.3 Glaciers
3.4 Arcticseaiceloss
3.5 Vegetation
3.5.1 Forestgeneticresources
3.6 Pollenanalysis
3.7 Cloudcoverandprecipitation
3.8 Dendroclimatology
3.9 Icecores
3.10 Animals
3.11 Sealevelchange
4 Seealso
5 Notes
6 References
7 Furtherreading
8 Externallinks

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Terminology
Themostgeneraldefinitionofclimatechangeisachangeinthestatisticalproperties(principallyitsmeanand
spread)[2]oftheclimatesystemwhenconsideredoverlongperiodsoftime,regardlessofcause.[3]Accordingly,
fluctuationsoverperiodsshorterthanafewdecades,suchasElNio,donotrepresentclimatechange.

Thetermsometimesisusedtoreferspecificallytoclimatechangecausedbyhumanactivity,asopposedto
changesinclimatethatmayhaveresultedaspartofEarth'snaturalprocesses.[4]Inthissense,especiallyinthe
contextofenvironmentalpolicy,thetermclimatechangehasbecomesynonymouswithanthropogenicglobal
warming.Withinscientificjournals,globalwarmingreferstosurfacetemperatureincreaseswhileclimate
changeincludesglobalwarmingandeverythingelsethatincreasinggreenhousegaslevelsaffect.[5]

Arelatedtermis"climaticchange".In1966,theWorldMeteorologicalOrganization(WMO)proposedthe
term"climaticchange"toencompassallformsofclimaticvariabilityontimescaleslongerthan10years,
regardlessofcause.Changewasagivenandclimaticwasusedasanadjectivetodescribethiskindofchange
(asopposedtopoliticaloreconomicchange).Whenitwasrealizedthathumanactivitieshadapotentialto
drasticallyaltertheclimate,thetermclimatechangereplacedclimaticchangeasthedominanttermtoreflectan
anthropogeniccause.ClimatechangewasincorporatedinthetitleoftheIntergovernmentalPanelonClimate
Change(IPCC)andtheUNFrameworkConventiononClimateChange(UNFCCC).Climatechange,usedasa
noun,becameanissueratherthanthetechnicaldescriptionofchangingweather.[6]

Causes
Onthebroadestscale,therateatwhichenergyisreceivedfromtheSunandtherateatwhichitislosttospace
determinetheequilibriumtemperatureandclimateofEarth.Thisenergyisdistributedaroundtheglobeby
winds,oceancurrents,andothermechanismstoaffecttheclimatesofdifferentregions.

Factorsthatcanshapeclimatearecalledclimateforcingsor"forcingmechanisms".[7]Theseincludeprocesses
suchasvariationsinsolarradiation,variationsintheEarth'sorbit,variationsinthealbedoorreflectivityofthe
continentsandoceans,mountainbuildingandcontinentaldriftandchangesingreenhousegasconcentrations.
Thereareavarietyofclimatechangefeedbacksthatcaneitheramplifyordiminishtheinitialforcing.Some
partsoftheclimatesystem,suchastheoceansandicecaps,respondmoreslowlyinreactiontoclimate
forcings,whileothersrespondmorequickly.Therearealsokeythresholdfactorswhichwhenexceededcan
producerapidchange.

Forcingmechanismscanbeeither"internal"or"external".Internalforcingmechanismsarenaturalprocesses
withintheclimatesystemitself(e.g.,thethermohalinecirculation).Externalforcingmechanismscanbeeither
natural(e.g.,changesinsolaroutput)oranthropogenic(e.g.,increasedemissionsofgreenhousegases).

Whethertheinitialforcingmechanismisinternalorexternal,theresponseoftheclimatesystemmightbefast
(e.g.,asuddencoolingduetoairbornevolcanicashreflectingsunlight),slow(e.g.thermalexpansionof
warmingoceanwater),oracombination(e.g.,suddenlossofalbedointheArcticOceanasseaicemelts,
followedbymoregradualthermalexpansionofthewater).Therefore,theclimatesystemcanrespondabruptly,
butthefullresponsetoforcingmechanismsmightnotbefullydevelopedforcenturiesorevenlonger.

Internalforcingmechanisms

Scientistsgenerallydefinethefivecomponentsofearth'sclimatesystemtoincludeatmosphere,hydrosphere,
cryosphere,lithosphere(restrictedtothesurfacesoils,rocks,andsediments),andbiosphere.[8]Naturalchanges
intheclimatesystem("internalforcings")resultininternal"climatevariability".[9]Examplesincludethetype
anddistributionofspecies,andchangesinoceanatmospherecirculations.

Oceanatmospherevariability
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Theoceanandatmospherecanworktogethertospontaneouslygenerate
internalclimatevariabilitythatcanpersistforyearstodecadesata
time.[10][11]ExamplesofthistypeofvariabilityincludetheElNio
SouthernOscillation,thePacificdecadaloscillation,andtheAtlantic
MultidecadalOscillation.Thesevariationscanaffectglobalaverage
surfacetemperaturebyredistributingheatbetweenthedeepoceanand
theatmopshere[12][13]and/orbyalteringthecloud/watervapor/seaice
PacificDecadalOscillation1925to
distributionwhichcanaffectthetotalenergybudgetoftheearth.[14][15] 2010

Theoceanicaspectsofthesecirculationscangeneratevariabilityon
centennialtimescalesduetotheoceanhavinghundredsoftimesmoremassthanintheatmosphere,andthus
veryhighthermalinertia.Forexample,alterationstooceanprocessessuchasthermohalinecirculationplaya
keyroleinredistributingheatintheworld'soceans.Duetothelongtimescalesofthiscirculation,ocean
temperatureatdepthisstilladjustingtoeffectsoftheLittleIceAge[16]whichoccurredbetweenthe1600and
1800s.

Life

Lifeaffectsclimatethroughitsroleinthecarbonandwatercyclesand
throughsuchmechanismsasalbedo,evapotranspiration,cloud
formation,andweathering.[17][18][19]Examplesofhowlifemayhave
affectedpastclimateinclude:

glaciation2.3billionyearsagotriggeredbytheevolutionof
oxygenicphotosynthesis,whichdepletedtheatmosphereofthe Aschematicofmodernthermohaline
greenhousegascarbondioxideandintroducedfreeoxygen. [20][21] circulation.Tensofmillionsofyears
anotherglaciation300millionyearsagousheredinbylongterm ago,continentalplatemovement
burialofdecompositionresistantdetritusofvascularlandplants formedalandfreegaparound
(creatingacarbonsinkandformingcoal) [22][23] Antarctica,allowingtheformationof
terminationofthePaleoceneEoceneThermalMaximum55 theACC,whichkeepswarmwaters
millionyearsagobyflourishingmarinephytoplankton [24][25] awayfromAntarctica.
reversalofglobalwarming49millionyearsagoby800,000years
ofarcticazollablooms[26][27]
globalcoolingoverthepast40millionyearsdrivenbytheexpansionofgrassgrazerecosystems[28][29]

Externalforcingmechanisms

Orbitalvariations

SlightvariationsinEarth'sorbitleadtochangesintheseasonaldistributionofsunlightreachingtheEarth's
surfaceandhowitisdistributedacrosstheglobe.Thereisverylittlechangetotheareaaveragedannually
averagedsunshinebuttherecanbestrongchangesinthegeographicalandseasonaldistribution.Thethree
typesoforbitalvariationsarevariationsinEarth'seccentricity,changesinthetiltangleofEarth'saxisof
rotation,andprecessionofEarth'saxis.Combinedtogether,theseproduceMilankovitchcycleswhichhavea
largeimpactonclimateandarenotablefortheircorrelationtoglacialandinterglacialperiods,[30]their
correlationwiththeadvanceandretreatoftheSahara,[30]andfortheirappearanceinthestratigraphic
record.[31][32]

TheIPCCnotesthatMilankovitchcyclesdrovetheiceagecycles,CO2followedtemperaturechange"witha
lagofsomehundredsofyears,"andthatasafeedbackamplifiedtemperaturechange.[33]Thedepthsofthe
oceanhavealagtimeinchangingtemperature(thermalinertiaonsuchscale).Uponseawatertemperature

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change,thesolubilityofCO2intheoceanschanged,aswellasother
factorsimpactingairseaCO2exchange.[34]

Solaroutput

TheSunisthepredominantsourceofenergyinputtotheEarth.Other
sourcesincludegeothermalenergyfromtheEarth'score,andheatfrom
thedecayofradioactivecompounds.Bothlongandshortterm
variationsinsolarintensityareknowntoaffectglobalclimate.

Threetofourbillionyearsago,theSunemittedonly70%asmuch
powerasitdoestoday.Iftheatmosphericcompositionhadbeenthe
sameastoday,liquidwatershouldnothaveexistedonEarth.However, Milankovitchcyclesfrom800,000
thereisevidenceforthepresenceofwaterontheearlyEarth,inthe yearsagointhepastto800,000years
Hadean[35][36]andArchean[37][35]eons,leadingtowhatisknownasthe inthefuture.
faintyoungSunparadox.[38]Hypothesizedsolutionstothisparadox
includeavastlydifferentatmosphere,withmuchhigherconcentrations
ofgreenhousegasesthancurrentlyexist.[39]Overthefollowing
approximately4billionyears,theenergyoutputoftheSunincreased
andatmosphericcompositionchanged.TheGreatOxygenationEvent
oxygenationoftheatmospherearound2.4billionyearsagowasthe
mostnotablealteration.Overthenextfivebillionyears,theSun's
ultimatedeathasitbecomesaredgiantandthenawhitedwarfwill
havelargeeffectsonclimate,withtheredgiantphasepossiblyending
anylifeonEarththatsurvivesuntilthattime. VariationsinCO2,temperatureand
dustfromtheVostokicecoreover
Solaroutputalsovariesonshortertimescales,includingthe11year thelast450,000years
solarcycle[40]andlongertermmodulations.[41]Solarintensity
variationspossiblyasaresultoftheWolf,SprerandMaunder
MinimumareconsideredtohavebeeninfluentialintriggeringtheLittle
IceAge,[42]andsomeofthewarmingobservedfrom1900to1950.The
cyclicalnatureoftheSun'senergyoutputisnotyetfullyunderstoodit
differsfromtheveryslowchangethatishappeningwithintheSunasit
agesandevolves.Researchindicatesthatsolarvariabilityhashad
effectsincludingtheMaunderminimumfrom1645to1715A.D.,part
oftheLittleIceAgefrom1550to1850A.D.thatwasmarkedby
relativecoolingandgreaterglacierextentthanthecenturiesbeforeand Variationsinsolaractivityduringthe
afterward.[43][44]Somestudiespointtowardsolarradiationincreases lastseveralcenturiesbasedon
fromcyclicalsunspotactivityaffectingglobalwarming,andclimate observationsofsunspotsand
maybeinfluencedbythesumofalleffects(solarvariation, berylliumisotopes.Theperiodof
anthropogenicradiativeforcings,etc.).[45][46] extraordinarilyfewsunspotsinthe
late17thcenturywastheMaunder
minimum.
Interestingly,a2010study[47]suggests,thattheeffectsofsolar
variabilityontemperaturethroughouttheatmospheremaybecontrary
tocurrentexpectations.

InanAug2011PressRelease,[48]CERNannouncedthepublicationintheNaturejournaltheinitialresultsfrom
itsCLOUDexperiment.Theresultsindicatethationisationfromcosmicrayssignificantlyenhancesaerosol
formationinthepresenceofsulfuricacidandwater,butintheloweratmospherewhereammoniaisalso
required,thisisinsufficienttoaccountforaerosolformationandadditionaltracevapoursmustbeinvolved.
Thenextstepistofindmoreaboutthesetracevapours,includingwhethertheyareofnaturalorhumanorigin.

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Volcanism

TheeruptionsconsideredtobelargeenoughtoaffecttheEarth'sclimate
onascaleofmorethan1yeararetheonesthatinjectover100,000tons
ofSO2intothestratosphere.[49]Thisisduetotheopticalpropertiesof
SO2andsulfateaerosols,whichstronglyabsorborscattersolar
radiation,creatingagloballayerofsulfuricacidhaze.[50]Onaverage,
sucheruptionsoccurseveraltimespercentury,andcausecooling(by Inatmospherictemperaturefrom
partiallyblockingthetransmissionofsolarradiationtotheEarth's 1979to2010,determinedbyMSU
surface)foraperiodofafewyears. NASAsatellites,effectsappearfrom
aerosolsreleasedbymajorvolcanic
TheeruptionofMountPinatuboin1991,thesecondlargestterrestrial eruptions(ElChichnandPinatubo).
eruptionofthe20thcentury,affectedtheclimatesubstantially, ElNioisaseparateevent,from
subsequentlyglobaltemperaturesdecreasedbyabout0.5C(0.9F)for oceanvariability.
uptothreeyears.[51][52]Thus,thecoolingoverlargepartsoftheEarth
reducedsurfacetemperaturesin199193,theequivalenttoareduction
innetradiationof4wattspersquaremeter.[53]TheMountTamboraeruptionin1815causedtheYearWithouta
Summer.[54]Muchlargereruptions,knownaslargeigneousprovinces,occuronlyafewtimeseveryfifty
hundredmillionyearsthroughfloodbasalt,andcausedinEarthpastglobalwarmingandmassextinctions.[55]

Smalleruptions,withinjectionsoflessthan0.1Mtofsulfurdioxideintothestratosphere,impactthe
atmosphereonlysubtly,astemperaturechangesarecomparablewithnaturalvariability.However,because
smallereruptionsoccuratamuchhigherfrequency,theytoohaveasignificantimpactonEarth's
atmosphere.[49][56]

Seismicmonitoringmapscurrentandfuturetrendsinvolcanicactivities,andtriestodevelopearlywarning
systems.Inclimatemodellingtheaimistostudythephysicalmechanismsandfeedbacksofvolcanic
forcing.[57]

Volcanoesarealsopartoftheextendedcarboncycle.Oververylong(geological)timeperiods,theyrelease
carbondioxidefromtheEarth'scrustandmantle,counteractingtheuptakebysedimentaryrocksandother
geologicalcarbondioxidesinks.TheUSGeologicalSurveyestimatesarethatvolcanicemissionsareatamuch
lowerlevelthantheeffectsofcurrenthumanactivities,whichgenerate100300timestheamountofcarbon
dioxideemittedbyvolcanoes.[58]Areviewofpublishedstudiesindicatesthatannualvolcanicemissionsof
carbondioxide,includingamountsreleasedfrommidoceanridges,volcanicarcs,andhotspotvolcanoes,are
onlytheequivalentof3to5daysofhumancausedoutput.Theannualamountputoutbyhumanactivitiesmay
begreaterthantheamountreleasedbysupererruptions,themostrecentofwhichwastheTobaeruptionin
Indonesia74,000yearsago.[59]

Althoughvolcanoesaretechnicallypartofthelithosphere,whichitselfispartoftheclimatesystem,theIPCC
explicitlydefinesvolcanismasanexternalforcingagent.[60]

Platetectonics

Overthecourseofmillionsofyears,themotionoftectonicplatesreconfiguresgloballandandoceanareasand
generatestopography.Thiscanaffectbothglobalandlocalpatternsofclimateandatmosphereocean
circulation.[61]

Thepositionofthecontinentsdeterminesthegeometryoftheoceansandthereforeinfluencespatternsofocean
circulation.Thelocationsoftheseasareimportantincontrollingthetransferofheatandmoistureacrossthe
globe,andtherefore,indeterminingglobalclimate.Arecentexampleoftectoniccontrolonoceancirculationis
theformationoftheIsthmusofPanamaabout5millionyearsago,whichshutoffdirectmixingbetweenthe
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AtlanticandPacificOceans.ThisstronglyaffectedtheoceandynamicsofwhatisnowtheGulfStreamand
mayhaveledtoNorthernHemisphereicecover.[62][63]DuringtheCarboniferousperiod,about300to360
millionyearsago,platetectonicsmayhavetriggeredlargescalestorageofcarbonandincreasedglaciation.[64]
Geologicevidencepointstoa"megamonsoonal"circulationpatternduringthetimeofthesupercontinent
Pangaea,andclimatemodelingsuggeststhattheexistenceofthesupercontinentwasconducivetothe
establishmentofmonsoons.[65]

Thesizeofcontinentsisalsoimportant.Becauseofthestabilizingeffectoftheoceansontemperature,yearly
temperaturevariationsaregenerallylowerincoastalareasthantheyareinland.Alargersupercontinentwill
thereforehavemoreareainwhichclimateisstronglyseasonalthanwillseveralsmallercontinentsorislands.

Humaninfluences

Inthecontextofclimatevariation,anthropogenicfactorsarehuman
activitieswhichaffecttheclimate.Thescientificconsensusonclimate
changeis"thatclimateischangingandthatthesechangesareinlarge
partcausedbyhumanactivities,"[66]andit"islargelyirreversible."[67]

Sciencehasmadeenormousinroadsinunderstanding
climatechangeanditscauses,andisbeginningtohelp
developastrongunderstandingofcurrentandpotential
impactsthatwillaffectpeopletodayandincoming
decades.Thisunderstandingiscrucialbecauseitallows
decisionmakerstoplaceclimatechangeinthecontextof
otherlargechallengesfacingthenationandtheworld.
IncreaseinatmosphericCO2levels
Therearestillsomeuncertainties,andtherealwayswillbe
inunderstandingacomplexsystemlikeEarthsclimate.
Nevertheless,thereisastrong,crediblebodyofevidence,
basedonmultiplelinesofresearch,documentingthat
climateischangingandthatthesechangesareinlargepart
causedbyhumanactivities.Whilemuchremainstobe
learned,thecorephenomenon,scientificquestions,and
hypotheseshavebeenexaminedthoroughlyandhavestood
firminthefaceofseriousscientificdebateandcareful
evaluationofalternativeexplanations.

UnitedStatesNationalResearchCouncil,Advancing
theScienceofClimateChange

OfmostconcernintheseanthropogenicfactorsistheincreaseinCO2levelsduetoemissionsfromfossilfuel
combustion,followedbyaerosols(particulatematterintheatmosphere)andtheCO2releasedbycement
manufacture.Otherfactors,includinglanduse,ozonedepletion,animalagriculture[68]anddeforestation,are
alsoofconcernintherolestheyplaybothseparatelyandinconjunctionwithotherfactorsinaffecting
climate,microclimate,andmeasuresofclimatevariables.[69]

Physicalevidence

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2015WarmestGlobalYearonRecord(since1880)Colorsindicatetemperature
anomalies(NASA/NOAA20January2016). [70]

Evidenceforclimaticchangeistakenfromavarietyofsourcesthat
canbeusedtoreconstructpastclimates.Reasonablycomplete
globalrecordsofsurfacetemperatureareavailablebeginningfrom
themidlate19thcentury.Forearlierperiods,mostoftheevidence
isindirectclimaticchangesareinferredfromchangesinproxies,
indicatorsthatreflectclimate,suchasvegetation,icecores,[71]
dendrochronology,sealevelchange,andglacialgeology.

Temperaturemeasurementsandproxies
ComparisonsbetweenAsianMonsoons
Theinstrumentaltemperaturerecordfromsurfacestationswas from200ADto2000AD(stayinginthe
supplementedbyradiosondeballoons,extensiveatmospheric backgroundonotherplots),Northern
monitoringbythemid20thcentury,and,fromthe1970son,with Hemispheretemperature,Alpineglacier
extent(verticallyinvertedasmarked),and
globalsatellitedataaswell.The18O/16Oratioincalciteandice
humanhistoryasnotedbytheU.S.NSF.
coresamplesusedtodeduceoceantemperatureinthedistantpast
isanexampleofatemperatureproxymethod,asareotherclimate
metricsnotedinsubsequentcategories.

Historicalandarchaeologicalevidence

Climatechangeintherecentpastmaybedetectedby
correspondingchangesinsettlementandagriculturalpatterns.[72]
Archaeologicalevidence,oralhistoryandhistoricaldocumentscan
offerinsightsintopastchangesintheclimate.Climatechange
effectshavebeenlinkedtothecollapseofvariouscivilizations.[72]
Arctictemperatureanomaliesovera100
yearperiodasestimatedbyNASA.Typical
Glaciers
highmonthlyvariancecanbeseen,while
longertermaverageshighlighttrends.
Glaciersareconsideredamongthemostsensitiveindicatorsof
climatechange.[73]Theirsizeisdeterminedbyamassbalance
betweensnowinputandmeltoutput.Astemperatureswarm,glaciersretreatunlesssnowprecipitation
increasestomakeupfortheadditionalmelttheconverseisalsotrue.

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Glaciersgrowandshrinkduebothtonaturalvariabilityand
externalforcings.Variabilityintemperature,precipitation,and
englacialandsubglacialhydrologycanstronglydeterminethe
evolutionofaglacierinaparticularseason.Therefore,onemust
averageoveradecadalorlongertimescaleand/orovermany
individualglacierstosmoothoutthelocalshorttermvariability
andobtainaglacierhistorythatisrelatedtoclimate.

Aworldglacierinventoryhasbeencompiledsincethe1970s,
initiallybasedmainlyonaerialphotographsandmapsbutnow
relyingmoreonsatellites.Thiscompilationtracksmorethan
100,000glacierscoveringatotalareaofapproximately Declineinthicknessofglaciersworldwide
2
240,000km ,andpreliminaryestimatesindicatethattheremaining overthepasthalfcentury
icecoverisaround445,000km2.TheWorldGlacierMonitoring
Servicecollectsdataannuallyonglacierretreatandglaciermassbalance.Fromthisdata,glaciersworldwide
havebeenfoundtobeshrinkingsignificantly,withstrongglacierretreatsinthe1940s,stableorgrowing
conditionsduringthe1920sand1970s,andagainretreatingfromthemid1980stopresent.[74]

ThemostsignificantclimateprocessessincethemiddletolatePliocene(approximately3millionyearsago)
aretheglacialandinterglacialcycles.Thepresentinterglacialperiod(theHolocene)haslastedabout11,700
years.[75]Shapedbyorbitalvariations,responsessuchastheriseandfallofcontinentalicesheetsand
significantsealevelchangeshelpedcreatetheclimate.Otherchanges,includingHeinrichevents,Dansgaard
OeschgereventsandtheYoungerDryas,however,illustratehowglacialvariationsmayalsoinfluenceclimate
withouttheorbitalforcing.

Glaciersleavebehindmorainesthatcontainawealthofmaterialincludingorganicmatter,quartz,and
potassiumthatmaybedatedrecordingtheperiodsinwhichaglacieradvancedandretreated.Similarly,by
tephrochronologicaltechniques,thelackofglaciercovercanbeidentifiedbythepresenceofsoilorvolcanic
tephrahorizonswhosedateofdepositmayalsobeascertained.

Arcticseaiceloss

ThedeclineinArcticseaice,bothinextentandthickness,overthelastseveraldecadesisfurtherevidencefor
rapidclimatechange.[76]Seaiceisfrozenseawaterthatfloatsontheoceansurface.Itcoversmillionsofsquare
milesinthepolarregions,varyingwiththeseasons.IntheArctic,someseaiceremainsyearafteryear,whereas
almostallSouthernOceanorAntarcticseaicemeltsawayandreformsannually.Satelliteobservationsshow
thatArcticseaiceisnowdecliningatarateof13.3percentperdecade,relativetothe1981to2010average.[77]

Vegetation

Achangeinthetype,distributionandcoverageofvegetationmayoccur
givenachangeintheclimate.Somechangesinclimatemayresultin
increasedprecipitationandwarmth,resultinginimprovedplantgrowth
andthesubsequentsequestrationofairborneCO2.Agradualincreasein
warmthinaregionwillleadtoearlierfloweringandfruitingtimes,
drivingachangeinthetimingoflifecyclesofdependentorganisms. Thisvideosummarizeshowclimate
change,associatedwithincreased
Conversely,coldwillcauseplantbiocyclestolag.[78]Larger,fasteror
carbondioxidelevels,hasaffected
moreradicalchanges,however,mayresultinvegetationstress,rapid
plantgrowth.
plantlossanddesertificationincertaincircumstances.[79][80]An
exampleofthisoccurredduringtheCarboniferousRainforestCollapse
(CRC),anextinctionevent300millionyearsago.Atthistimevastrainforestscoveredtheequatorialregionof
EuropeandAmerica.Climatechangedevastatedthesetropicalrainforests,abruptlyfragmentingthehabitatinto
isolated'islands'andcausingtheextinctionofmanyplantandanimalspecies.[79]
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Forestgeneticresources

Eventhoughthisisafieldwithmanyuncertainties,itisexpectedthatoverthenext50yearsclimatechanges
willhaveaneffectonthediversityofforestgeneticresourcesandtherebyonthedistributionofforesttree
speciesandthecompositionofforests.Diversityofforestgeneticresourcesenablesthepotentialforaspecies
(orapopulation)toadapttoclimaticchangesandrelatedfuturechallengessuchastemperaturechanges,
drought,pests,diseasesandforestfire.However,speciesarenotnaturallycapabletoadaptinthepaceofwhich
theclimateischangingandtheincreasingtemperatureswillmostlikelyfacilitatethespreadofpestsand
diseases,creatinganadditionalthreattoforesttreesandtheirpopulations.[81]Toinhibittheseproblemshuman
interventions,suchastransferofforestreproductivematerial,maybeneeded.[82]

Pollenanalysis

Palynologyisthestudyofcontemporaryandfossilpalynomorphs,includingpollen.Palynologyisusedtoinfer
thegeographicaldistributionofplantspecies,whichvaryunderdifferentclimateconditions.Differentgroups
ofplantshavepollenwithdistinctiveshapesandsurfacetextures,andsincetheoutersurfaceofpollenis
composedofaveryresilientmaterial,theyresistdecay.Changesinthetypeofpollenfoundindifferentlayers
ofsedimentinlakes,bogs,orriverdeltasindicatechangesinplantcommunities.Thesechangesareoftenasign
ofachangingclimate.[83][84]Asanexample,palynologicalstudieshavebeenusedtotrackchangingvegetation
patternsthroughouttheQuaternaryglaciations[85]andespeciallysincethelastglacialmaximum.[86]

Cloudcoverandprecipitation

Pastprecipitationcanbeestimatedinthemodernerawiththeglobal
networkofprecipitationgauges.Surfacecoverageoveroceansand
remoteareasisrelativelysparse,but,reducingrelianceoninterpolation,
satellitecloudsandprecipitationdatahasbeenavailablesincethe
1970s.[88]Quantificationofclimatologicalvariationofprecipitationin
priorcenturiesandepochsislesscompletebutapproximatedusing
proxiessuchasmarinesediments,icecores,cavestalagmites,andtree
rings.[89]InJuly2016scientistspublishedevidenceofincreasedcloud
coveroverpolarregions,[90]aspredictedbyclimatemodels.[91]

Climatologicaltemperaturessubstantiallyaffectcloudcoverand
precipitation.Forinstance,duringtheLastGlacialMaximumof18,000
yearsago,thermaldrivenevaporationfromtheoceansontocontinental
landmasseswaslow,causinglargeareasofextremedesert,including
polardeserts(coldbutwithlowratesofcloudcoverand
precipitation).[87]Incontrast,theworld'sclimatewascloudierand
wetterthantodaynearthestartofthewarmAtlanticPeriodof8000
yearsago.[87]
Top:Aridiceageclimate
Estimatedgloballandprecipitationincreasedbyapproximately2%over
Middle:AtlanticPeriod,warmand
thecourseofthe20thcentury,thoughthecalculatedtrendvariesif
wet
differenttimeendpointsarechosen,complicatedbyENSOandother
Bottom:Potentialvegetationin
oscillations,includinggreatergloballandcloudcoverprecipitationin
climatenowifnotforhumaneffects
the1950sand1970sthanthelater1980sand1990sdespitethepositive
likeagriculture. [87]
trendoverthecenturyoverall.[88][92][93]Similarslightoverallincrease
inglobalriverrunoffandinaveragesoilmoisturehasbeen
perceived.[92]

Dendroclimatology
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Dendroclimatologyistheanalysisoftreeringgrowthpatternstodeterminepastclimatevariations.[94]Wide
andthickringsindicateafertile,wellwateredgrowingperiod,whilstthin,narrowringsindicateatimeof
lowerrainfallandlessthanidealgrowingconditions.

Icecores

AnalysisoficeinacoredrilledfromanicesheetsuchastheAntarcticicesheet,canbeusedtoshowalink
betweentemperatureandglobalsealevelvariations.Theairtrappedinbubblesintheicecanalsorevealthe
CO2variationsoftheatmospherefromthedistantpast,wellbeforemodernenvironmentalinfluences.The
studyoftheseicecoreshasbeenasignificantindicatorofthechangesinCO2overmanymillennia,and
continuestoprovidevaluableinformationaboutthedifferencesbetweenancientandmodernatmospheric
conditions.

Animals

Remainsofbeetlesarecommoninfreshwaterandlandsediments.Differentspeciesofbeetlestendtobefound
underdifferentclimaticconditions.Giventheextensivelineageofbeetleswhosegeneticmakeuphasnot
alteredsignificantlyoverthemillennia,knowledgeofthepresentclimaticrangeofthedifferentspecies,andthe
ageofthesedimentsinwhichremainsarefound,pastclimaticconditionsmaybeinferred.[95]

Similarly,thehistoricalabundanceofvariousfishspecieshasbeenfoundtohaveasubstantialrelationshipwith
observedclimaticconditions.[96]Changesintheprimaryproductivityofautotrophsintheoceanscanaffect
marinefoodwebs.[97]

Sealevelchange

Globalsealevelchangeformuchofthelastcenturyhasgenerallybeenestimatedusingtidegauge
measurementscollatedoverlongperiodsoftimetogivealongtermaverage.Morerecently,altimeter
measurementsincombinationwithaccuratelydeterminedsatelliteorbitshaveprovidedanimproved
measurementofglobalsealevelchange.[98]Tomeasuresealevelspriortoinstrumentalmeasurements,
scientistshavedatedcoralreefsthatgrownearthesurfaceoftheocean,coastalsediments,marineterraces,
ooidsinlimestones,andnearshorearchaeologicalremains.Thepredominantdatingmethodsusedareuranium
seriesandradiocarbon,withcosmogenicradionuclidesbeingsometimesusedtodateterracesthathave
experiencedrelativesealevelfall.IntheearlyPliocene,globaltemperatureswere12Cwarmerthanthe
presenttemperature,yetsealevelwas1525metershigherthantoday.[99]

Seealso
Abruptclimatechangeandlinkstherein PaleoceneEoceneThermalMaximum
Bluecarbon PermoCarboniferousGlaciation
Climatechangeinliterature SnowballEarth
Geologictimescale
Homogenization Recentclimate
Solarvariation
Temperaturerecord Anthropocene
CORAdatasettemperatureandsalinityof
Climateofrecentglaciations globaloceans
Effectsofglobalwarmingonoceans
Bondevent Extremeweather
Landsurfaceeffectsonclimate
Climateofthepast Hardinesszone
Holoceneclimaticoptimum
Iceages MedievalWarmPeriod
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Temperaturerecordofthepast1000years

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96.FAOFisheriesTechnicalPaper.No.410.Rome,FAO.2001.ClimateChangeandLongTermFluctuationsof
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References
IPCCAR4WG1(2007).Solomon,S.Qin,D.Manning,M.Chen,Z.Marquis,M.Averyt,K.B.
Tignor,M.Miller,H.L.,eds.ClimateChange2007:ThePhysicalScienceBasis.Contributionof
WorkingGroupItotheFourthAssessmentReportoftheIntergovernmentalPanelonClimateChange.
CambridgeUniversityPress.ISBN9780521880091.(pb:9780521705967).
IPCCAR4SYR(2007).CoreWritingTeamPachauri,R.KReisinger,A.,eds.ClimateChange2007:
SynthesisReport.ContributionofWorkingGroupsI,IIandIIItotheFourthAssessmentReportofthe
IntergovernmentalPanelonClimateChange.IPCC.ISBN9291691224..
IPCCTARWG1(2001).Houghton,J.T.Ding,Y.Griggs,D.J.Noguer,M.vanderLinden,P.J.Dai,
X.Maskell,K.Johnson,C.A.,eds.ClimateChange2001:TheScientificBasis.Contributionof
WorkingGroupItotheThirdAssessmentReportoftheIntergovernmentalPanelonClimateChange.
CambridgeUniversityPress.ISBN0521807670.(pb:0521014956).

Furtherreading
IPCCAR4WG1(2007)."SummaryforPolicymakers".InSolomon,S.Qin,D.Manning,M.Chen,Z.Marquis,
M.Averyt,K.B.Tignor,M.Miller,H.L.ClimateChange2007:ThePhysicalScienceBasis.Contributionof
WorkingGroupItotheFourthAssessmentReportoftheIntergovernmentalPanelonClimateChange.Cambridge
UniversityPress.ISBN9780521880091.(pb:9780521705967).
IPCCAR4SYR(2007)."SummaryforPolicymakers".InCoreWritingTeamPachauri,R.KReisinger,A.Climate
Change2007:SynthesisReport.ContributionofWorkingGroupsI,IIandIIItotheFourthAssessmentReportof
theIntergovernmentalPanelonClimateChange.IPCC.ISBN9291691224.
Emanuel,K.(August2005)."Increasingdestructivenessoftropicalcyclonesoverthepast30years"(PDF).Nature.
436(7051):6868.Bibcode:2005Natur.436..686E.doi:10.1038/nature03906.PMID16056221.
Edwards,PaulGeoffreyMiller,ClarkA.(2001).Changingtheatmosphere:expertknowledgeandenvironmental
governance.Cambridge,Mass:MITPress.ISBN0262632195.
McKibben,Bill(2011).TheGlobalWarmingReader.NewYork,N.Y.:ORBooks.ISBN9781935928362.
Ruddiman,W.F.(2003)."Theanthropogenicgreenhouseerabeganthousandsofyearsago".ClimateChange.61(3):
261293.doi:10.1023/B:CLIM.0000004577.17928.fa.
Ruddiman,WilliamF.(2005).Plows,plagues,andpetroleum:howhumanstookcontrolofclimate.Princeton,N.J:
PrincetonUniversityPress.ISBN0691133980.
Ruddiman,W.F.Vavrus,S.J.Kutzbach,J.E.(2005)."Atestoftheoverdueglaciationhypothesis".Quaternary
ScienceReviews.24(11):110.Bibcode:2005QSRv...24....1R.doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2004.07.010.
Schelling,ThomasC.(2002)."GreenhouseEffect".InHenderson,DavidR.ConciseEncyclopediaofEconomics(1st
ed.).LibraryofEconomicsandLiberty.OCLC317650570(https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/317650570),50016270(ht
tps://www.worldcat.org/oclc/50016270),163149563(https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/163149563)
Schmidt,G.A.Shindel,D.T.Harder,S.(2004)."Anoteoftherelationshipbetweenicecoremethane
concentrationsandinsolation".Geophys.Res.Lett.31(23):L23206.Bibcode:2004GeoRL..3123206S.
doi:10.1029/2004GL021083.
Wagner,FredericH.,ed.(2009).ClimateChangeinWesternNorthAmerica:EvidenceandEnvironmentalEffects.
ISBN9780874809060.

Externallinks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change 15/17
1/28/2017 ClimatechangeWikipedia

ClimateChange(https://www.dmoz.org/Science/Environment/Cli Wikiquotehasquotations
mate_Change)atDMOZ relatedto:Climatechange
ClimateChangeResources(http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.ph
p?title=Climate_change:_Resources)fromSourceWatch Wikinewshasnewsrelated
ClimateChange(http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/govpubs/us/clim to:
atechange.htm)fromtheUCBLibrariesGovPubs Climatechange
ClimateChange(http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/)
fromtheMetOffice(UK) WikimediaCommonshas
GlobalClimateChangeIndicators(http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ind mediarelatedtoClimate
icators/)fromNOAA change.
GlobalClimateChange(http://climate.nasa.gov/)fromNASA
(US)
GlobalCarbonDioxideCirculation(http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6701)(NASA13
December2016)
ClimateChange:Evidence&Causes(https://web.archive.org/web/20140307034819/http://dels.nas.edu/r
esources/staticassets/execofficeother/climatechangefull.pdf),fromtheRoyalSocietyandtheU.S.
NationalAcademyofSciences
OceanMotion:SatellitesRecordWeakeningNorthAtlanticCurrent(http://www.oceanmotion.org/html/i
mpact/climatevariability.htm)
IntergovernmentalPanelonClimateChange(IPCC)(http://www.ipcc.ch/)
UnitedNationsUniversity's'OurWorld2'ClimateChangeVideoBriefs(http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/serie
s/climate/)
UnitedNationsUniversity's'OurWorld2'Indigenousvoicesonclimatechangefilms(http://ourworld.un
u.edu/en/cop15filmfestival/)

ClimateChange(http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00546l7)onInOurTimeattheBBC.(listennow
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00546l7/In_Our_Time_Climate_Change))
ClimateChangePerformanceIndex2010(http://www.germanwatch.org/klima/ccpi.htm)
ClimateLibrary(http://www.centerforoceansolutions.org/researchlibraries)atCenterforOcean
Solutions,StanfordUniversity
ClimateChange:CoralReefsontheEdge(http://site.videoproject.com/coralreefs/)Anonlinevideo
presentationbyProf.OveHoeghGuldberg,UniversityofAuckland
WhatWeKnowTheReality,RisksandResponsetoClimateChange(https://web.archive.org/web/2014
0605100539/http://whatweknow.aaas.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/03/AAASWhatWeKnow.pdf)2014
report,Am.Assn.fortheAdvancementofScience
GatewaytotheUnitedNationsSystemsWorkonClimateChangeTheScience(http://www.un.org/wc
m/content/site/climatechange/pages/gateway/thescience)
Climatechangeandforestgeneticresources(http://www.euforgen.org/forestgeneticresources/climatec
hange/).

GatewaytotheUnitedNationsSystemsWorkonClimateChangeMitigation(http://www.un.org/wcm/
content/site/climatechange/pages/gateway/mitigation)
HistoricalClimatology.com(http://www.HistoricalClimatology.com)
ClimateHistoryNetwork(http://www.climatehistorynetwork.com)
ConfrontingtheRealitiesofClimateChange(http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming#.WFVRJHC1yLx)
UnionofConcernedScientists

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