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Global warming is the increase in the average measured temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century, and its projected continuation.Diploma Programme

Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100 years ending in 2005.[1][2] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations"[3][4] via an enhanced greenhouse effect. Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward.[5][6] These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science,[7] including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.[8][9][10] While individual scientists have voiced disagreement with these findings,[11] the overwhelming majority of scientists working on climate change agree with the IPCC's thesis writing servicemain conclusions.[12][13]

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Climate model projections summarized by the IPCC indicate that average global surface temperature will likely rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the twenty-first century.[3] This range of values results from the use of differing scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions as well as models with differing climate sensitivity. Although most studies focus on the period up to 2100, warming and sea level rise are expected to continue for more than a thousand years even if greenhouse gas levels are stabilized. The delay in reaching equilibrium is a result of the large heat capacity of the oceans.[3]

Increasing global temperature is expected to cause sea levels to rise, an increase in the intensity of extreme weather events, and significant changes to the amount and pattern of precipitation, likely leading to an expanse of tropical areas and increased pace of desertification. Other expected effects of global warming include changes in agricultural yields, modifications of trade routes, glacier retreat, mass species extinctions and increases in the ranges of disease vectors.

Remaining scientific uncertainties include the amount of warming expected in the future, and how warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe. Most national governments have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but there is ongoing political and public debate worldwide regarding what, if any, action should be taken to reduce or reverse future warming or to adapt to its expected consequences.

Sources and CitationsEdit

  1. Summary for Policymakers (PDF). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007-02-05). Retrieved on 2007 February 2. “The updated hundred-year linear trend (1906 to 2005) of 0.74 °C [0.56 °C to 0.92 °C] is therefore larger than the corresponding trend for 1901 to 2000 given in the TAR of 0.6 °C [0.4 °C to 0.8 °C].”
  2. Global surface temperature is defined in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report as the average of near-surface air temperature over land and sea surface temperature.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Summary for Policymakers (PDF). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007-02-05). Retrieved on 2007 February 2.
  4. Global surface temperature is defined in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report as the average of near-surface air temperature over land and sea surface temperature.
  5. Hegerl, Gabriele C.; et al. (2007-05-07). Understanding and Attributing Climate Change (PDF). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 690. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Retrieved on 2007 May 20. “Recent estimates (Figure 9.9) indicate a relatively small combined effect of natural forcings on the global mean temperature evolution of the seconds half of the twentieth century, with a small net cooling from the combined effects of solar and volcanic forcings”
  6. Ammann, Caspar; et al. (2007-04-06). "Solar influence on climate during the past millennium: Results from ransient simulations with the NCAR Climate Simulation Model" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104 (10): 3713–3718. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0605064103. PMID 17360418. “However, because of a lack of interactive ozone, the model cannot fully simulate features discussed in (44)." "While the NH temperatures of the high-scaled experiment are often colder than the lower bound from proxy data, the modeled decadal-scale NH surface temperature for the medium-scaled case falls within the uncertainty range of the available temperature reconstructions. The medium-scaled simulation also broadly reproduces the main features seen in the proxy records." "Without anthropogenic forcing, the 20th century warming is small. The simulations with only natural forcing components included yield an early 20th century peak warming of ≈0.2 °C (≈1950 AD), which is reduced to about half by the end of the century because of increased volcanism.” 
  7. The 2001 joint statement was signed by the scientific academies of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK. The 2005 statement added Japan, Russia, and the U.S. The 2007 statement added Mexico and South Africa. Professional societies include American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics, American Astronomical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London, Geological Society of America, American Chemical Society, and Engineers Australia.
  8. The Science Of Climate Change. Royal Society (May 2001). Retrieved on 2008 January 4.
  9. Joint science academies' statement: Global response to climate change. Royal Society (June 2005). Retrieved on 2008 January 4.
  10. Joint science academies' statement on growth and responsibility: sustainability, energy efficiency and climate protection (PDF). Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (May 2007). Retrieved on 2008 January 4.
  11. Don't fight, adapt. National Post (December 2007). Retrieved on 2007 November 18.
  12. A guide to facts and fictions about climate change. Royal Society (March 2005). Retrieved on 2007 November 18. “"However, the overwhelming majority of scientists who work on climate change agree on the main points"”
  13. Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. Science Magazine (December 2004). Retrieved on 2008 January 4.
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