Science of climate change

Science of climate change

What is the science of climate change?

When discussing the science behind climate change, it is useful to ensure that the following areas are covered in some detail:

  • The Greenhouse Gas Effect

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are a natural part of the atmosphere, trapping and radiating heat from the earth's surface. The natural greenhouse effect is crucial in maintaining a surface temperature that can support life. Read more...

  • Human and Natural Drivers of Climate Change

Changes in the atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases and aerosols, in solar radiation and in land surface properties alter the energy balance of the climate system. Read more...

  • Rising global temperatures

Over the past century the global average surface temperature has risen by 0.74 ºC. The observed increase in average temperatures is widespread around the globe, with rising trends recorded on all continents and in the oceans. Read more...

  • Projections of future changes in climate

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models numerous scenarios to predict the future changes to climate and ecosystems. Read more...

There are of course many overlaps between these four areas, with each having various levels of complexities.

References

Key questions for this area

If you are teaching or studying the science of climate change, or are looking to include content, here are a few questions that you should be able to answer and/or consider:

  • Climate change has occurred previously in history. When did it occur, what were the effects, and what is the key differentiating factor this time round?
  • What are the primary bodies gathering facts and figures associated with climate change?
  • How valid is the science behind climate change?
  • What are the science based solutions to climate change?

Useful resources

If you are interested in finding out more about this topic, check out our resources for inspiration.

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