Climate Change: Evidence and Causes

The US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the UK jointly produced “Climate Change: Evidence & Causes,” building upon the climate-related work from both national academies, as well as on the newest climate change assessment from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report reviews what is well understood about climate change, and where research is needed. It also presents current areas of active debate and ongoing research, such as the link between ocean heat content and the rate of warming.

The report confirms that human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, has caused a 40 percent increase in heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If emissions continue unabated on their current trajectory, the report notes, scientists are “very confident” that by the end of the 21st century, the planet will have heated up an additional 4.8 to 8.6 degrees.

The bulk of the report is a climate change “Q&A” which addresses many pressing concerns involved in the climate debate, while offering the scientific basics.  Example questions addressed include:

- How fast is sea-level rising?
- What is ocean acidification and why does it matter?
- Are climate changes of a few degrees cause for concern? And more.

The Q&A is followed by another informative piece on the basics of climate change, such as how greenhouse gases affect Earth’s energy balance and climate.

Publication Date: February 27, 2014

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  • Climate science

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