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The Current Impacts For Humans & Earth

Global Warming

“The recent and ongoing global average increase in temperature near the Earth’s surface”

Many human contributions are related to this ideal– elevated production of greenhouse gasses


Global Climate Change

There are always fluctuations in weather from year to year.

Timescale is extremely important when looking at climate data. The overall trend will change depending the timescale.

For example: Over the last 65 million years?

Global Climate Change

For example, over the last 800,000 years?

Side note: modern humans (Homo sapiens) are about 200,000 years old

Global Climate Change

For example, over the last 130 years?

Side note: the Industrial Revolution began in England & Scotland in the late 1700’s

Determining Past Climates

Paleoclimatology – the study of past climates

Scientists use a variety of methods to determine earth’s past climate (I’ve summarized a few here, but there are more):


Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Ocean Sediments

Pollen Analysis

Ice Cores/Dome C in Antarctica


The analysis of tree rings to provide information on past climates.

Certain species of trees grow a new ring each year. This happens in trees that exist in areas where the climate halts their growth at some point during the year (such as cold temperatures or lack of water). So, this happens to trees in high altitude and high altitude areas (such as conifers and deciduous trees). Tropical tree do not grow rings each year.

Oldest Trees in the World? Ancient Bristlecone Pines!

White Mountains, California

1953, established a continuous tree-ring sequence of 8,253 years.