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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Plate Tectonics & Volcanic Activity

Variations in Earth-Sun relations (Milankovitch Cycles)

Fluctuations in Solar Output (Solar Flares)

Findings for the above – they are factors, but there hasn’t been significant enough changes to account for the most recent temperature trend

Feedback Mechanisms

Role of the Ocean

Role of Vegetation

Findings for the above – they are factors, but alone they do not account alter climate without other factors (such as carbon dioxide)

Greenhouse Gas Concentrations

Findings for the above – most scientific research/data supports that increases in greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, etc.) is the cause of the current climate change trend we are seeing. Over the last century, the burning of fossil fuels, like coal and oil, has increased these concentrations – particularly carbon dioxide. According to the IPCC in it’s Fifth assessment Report, “There’s a more than 95% probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet”.

You may be familiar with the phrase, “causation does not equal correlation”. Which means that just because two variables are related, doesn’t mean that one causes the other. In order to establish that CO2 concentrations are the cause of climate change, scientists need to examine all other variables that could change our climate long term. Here is a summary of those other variables:

The IPCC: Intergovernmental on Climate Change

Est. in 1988 by the United Nations Environmental Program & the World Meteorological Organization (link to website is available in Moodle)

A group of thousands of independent scientific experts from around the globe contribute to this organization

Provides an annual assessment report that covers, “the scientific, technical and socio-economical information relevant to understanding the scientific basics of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation” (

The IPCC, “does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.” (

Read the most recent report here: https://

Source: GSF


Current Status

Source: NASA


Current Impacts on Humans & Earth

Sea Level Rise

Melting of Glaciers/Ice Sheets

Adding fresh water into oceans, limiting resources and albedo (further warming)

Jakobshavn Glacier: Greenland (Fastest moving with 66ft per day)

The Thermohaline

As water become warmer– less sinking, or mixing with cooler denser water.

As water evaporates- leaves behind salt, further affecting the circulation (perhaps a cooling– eg 12kya)

Source: Climate Institute & NASA

Current Impact on Oceanic Life

Oceanic Change

Coral Bleaching

Temperature changes of oceanic water forcing nutrient providing algae to leave– making the coral weak and white

Ocean Acidification

Acid from increased amounts of Caron Dioxide

Source: NOAA

The Holocene Extinction: The 6th Greatest

During the last 10,000 years:

1500-2009: 875 species went extinct 2009-today: 17,291 species out of the 47,677 known species are considered threatened (36%)

The causation? Humans impact on the environment, or Global Warming.

The next 10,000 years:

Invasive species

Tree Line


Source: (International Union for Conservation of Nature)

Projections of Future Climate

A 66 percent change of a doubling of preindustrial CO2 levels with a corresponding temperature increase of 2.0°C to 4.5°C with a best estimate of 3.0°C.



Polar Region

Weather Patterns

Plant and Animal

A great resource: