Global climate change
Licker, Rachel Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:October 2019
Show previous versions
- Greenhouse effect
- Observed changes in Earth’s climate system
- Projected changes in Earth’s climate system
- Additional consequences for society
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Significant and persistent changes in the state of Earth’s climate. Earth's past climates, or paleoclimates, have alternated between ice ages and periods warmer than today over relatively long time scales (millions to tens of millions of years) because of natural causes, such as the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the positions of the continents, ocean circulation, solar output, and the Earth's orbit. However, since the mid-twentieth century, global climate change has been driven primarily by human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions (Fig. 1) that are trapping additional heat in the atmosphere. See also: Glacial history; Ocean circulation; Paleoclimatology; Paleogeography; Plate tectonics; Precession of equinoxes; Solar constant
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information