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The black line is the global annual mean, and the red line is the five-year local regression line. Global warming is the long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system.It is a major aspect of current climate change, and has been demonstrated by direct temperature measurements and by measurements of various effects of the warming.For the gases and aerosols, the values represent both the effect they have themselves and the effect of any chemical compound they get converted into in the atmosphere.
This heat, in the form of infrared radiation, gets absorbed and emitted by these gases in the atmosphere, thus warming the lower atmosphere and the surface.
Before the Industrial Revolution, naturally occurring amounts of greenhouse gases caused the air near the surface to be warmer by about 33 °C (59 °F) than it would be in their absence.
Surface temperature increases are greatest in the Arctic, which has contributed to the retreat of glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice.
Overall, higher temperatures bring more rain and snowfall, but for some regions droughts and wildfires increase instead.
Global surface temperature is subject to short-term fluctuations that overlie long-term trends, and can temporarily mask or magnify them.
Throughout this period ocean heat storage continued to progress steadily upwards, and in subsequent years surface temperatures have spiked upwards.Changing the type of vegetation in a region impacts the local temperature by changing how much sunlight gets reflected back into space, called albedo, and how much heat is lost by evaporation.For instance, the change from a dark forest to grassland makes the surface lighter, causing it to reflect more sunlight.Because the climate system has large thermal inertia, it can take centuries for the climate to fully adjust.While record-breaking years attract considerable public interest, individual years are less significant than the overall trend.The slower pace of warming can be attributed to a combination of natural fluctuations, reduced solar activity, and increased volcanic activity.Radiative forcing of different contributors to climate change in 2011, as reported in the fifth IPCC assessment report.This page is about the current warming of the Earth's climate system."Climate change" can also refer to climate trends at any point in Earth's history.Therefore, a key approach is to use physically or statistically based computer modelling of the climate system to determine unique fingerprints for all potential causes.By comparing these fingerprints with observed patterns and evolution of climate change, and the observed evolution of the forcings, the causes of the observed changes can be determined.