Questions tagged [climate-change]

Questions about changes of the climate system, including questions about global warming.

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45
votes
5answers
35k views

How many trees would I have to plant to solve Global Warming?

According to Nasa, causes of the Earth's greenhouse effect include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and CFCs. Carbon dioxide gets the most press, and NASA's page says: Carbon ...
42
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3answers
10k views

How do 'greenhouse gases' let heat in, but not let it out?

That honestly doesn't make any sense to me. How could heat pass through a gas one way but not the other? Its not like our upper atmostphere has a bunch of doors that can only open one way. To me, that ...
36
votes
6answers
8k views

Is the sea level rise unusual?

I'm discussing climate change with a friend who is a climate change denier, basically the argument is that looking at this graph, is not clear that something unusual is going on, so the sea level rise ...
32
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3answers
3k views

How does anthropogenic heating affect global warming?

Anthropogenic-sourced greenhouse gases are commonly cited as the main source for human-caused climate change. However, something that I never see discussed is the actual heat produced by human ...
31
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2answers
1k views

How much of the current global warming is due to human influence?

Approximately what proportion of the global warming seen over the the last century is attributed to anthropogenic sources?
28
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2answers
5k views

Is this XKCD comic an accurate timeline of the earth's average temperature?

Apologies for the length of the image, which I found at http://xkcd.com/1732/. I'm mostly interested in the temperature line itself, both the historical data and the forward projections. The reason ...
27
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6answers
6k views

How much will sea level rise if all the polar ice melts?

There are many movies about global warming, which say that melting of all polar ice would cause the whole world to suffer a huge flood. According my research (teachers, TV, Internet) people hold one ...
26
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4answers
4k views

Could the extraction of energy by wind turbines be harmful to the environment?

Wind turbines work by converting some of the energy from wind to electrical energy. Is it possible to have too many turbines, leading to them removing too much energy from the wind? I'm not an ...
23
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4answers
5k views

Why is the temperature *still* rising?

2015 is the hottest year on record, and the average temperature continues to rise. I don't understand why this continues, as (over the past twenty years) so much work was put into reducing Global ...
23
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3answers
9k views

Why is there a seasonal cycle to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere?

I'm doing some homework on the increase of $\mathrm{CO}_2$ in the atmosphere. On one of the graphs it shows the amount of $\mathrm{CO}_2$ peaks in May and has a low in November. Why is this? Shouldn't ...
23
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3answers
709 views

How good were climate models of the 1990s at predicting the global temperature trends of the 2000s/2010s?

Was there a significant bias between the ensemble of climate models and the long-term temperature trends? What about spatial patterns?
22
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7answers
9k views

Does human body temperature impact climate change?

The human body temperature is about 37 °C (99 °F), so as the population increases does this cause the Earth's temperature to rise?
22
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2answers
7k views

“Five of the Solomon Islands disappeared” due to sea level rise, how is this possible so quickly?

The text of the introduction to the BBC Podcast Sea Levels Rise; The Compass, Living on the Edge Episode 1 of 4 says: Five of the Solomon Islands have disappeared, many more are becoming ...
21
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2answers
952 views

What caused the Younger Dryas cold event?

During the termination of the latest ice age the warming climate leading from glacial to interglacial conditions was abruptly reverted by a distinct but short (about 1300 years in duration) cold event,...
20
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5answers
1k views

Academic but accessible defense of the scientific understanding of anthropogenic climate change?

I'm an intelligent and well-educated guy, but all of my schooling has been in economics, statistics, and public policy. I'm interested in reading a thorough explanation/defense of the scientific ...
20
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4answers
2k views

What is the 'natural variation' in global temperature that climate-change skeptics mention?

I was wondering if there really was some natural variation that keeps getting cited by climate-change skeptics that predicts a warming? The only such variation I can think of would be the milankovitch ...
19
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4answers
6k views

Was Judea as desertified 2000 years ago as it is now?

The ancient fortress of Masada is currently so dry and forbidding that is hard to imagine anyone living there. Was the climate in the surrounding area more wet 2000 years ago, or was it as much a ...
19
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3answers
697 views

How do we know that we are NOT in an “Ice Age?”

Historically, the earth has had five "Ice Ages" Each of them lasted millions, tens of millions, or hundreds of millions of years. The last ice age reportedly ended perhaps 10,000 years ago. That ...
19
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2answers
263 views

Will tropical cyclones form and be sustained in areas they previously were not due to global climate change?

With global climate change, is it possible that tropical cyclones (as seen in the Atlantic basin for example) are going to form and be sustained in regions where they previously did not, for example ...
18
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3answers
5k views

Do fossil fuels insulate the crust from the Earth's interior?

I was doing a project for my English class, and I came upon the article Energy conservation in the earth's crust and climate change. I can't view the full text of the article, but the abstract piqued ...
18
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2answers
2k views

What happens to global temperature when we stop all the vehicles for a year?

I know this is a very simple or naive question but am just being curious. How would the global temperature change if all vehicles stopped for a whole year?
17
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3answers
3k views

Is 2015's record average temperature evidence that we are now experiencing runaway climate change?

2015 had the highest global temperatures on record, as discussed in this question, beating the last record ... in 2014. Are we now in a runaway climate change regime, where zero further human ...
17
votes
1answer
587 views

To what extent is hydroelectric power really renewable?

One of the more widespread "renewable" ways of generating power is by harnessing hydropower, i.e. by exploiting the movement of falling or flowing water. Some of the most commonly seen implementations ...
17
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2answers
981 views

Which places on Earth would be affected the least by severe climate change?

If I had the choice to move to an arbitrary region on the planet, which regions should I favour and which should I avoid in terms of habitability in face of the possibility of an extreme climate ...
16
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1answer
373 views

What is the methodology to analyze future climatic extremes using the results of climate models?

What is the accepted methodology to predict future climatic extremes using the results of climate models? I have recently read a report about climatic extremes considering climate change (MICE, 2002)....
16
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5answers
1k views

Is global warming being moderated by latent heat of melting polar ice?

I've only had a secondary education in physics, so bear with me, but with the greenhouse effect and all, wouldn't we be much hotter already if the ice melt-rate wasn't increasing, since more (heat) ...
16
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1answer
1k views

How much would the Greenland landmass isostatic rebound contribute to long term climate change?

In reading the question What would the geology and climate of a supposed landmass near the pole be like, assuming a thoroughly warmer planet?, it came to mind that another factor may cause a shift in ...
15
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4answers
10k views

What would be the effect of bringing seawater pipes to the Sahara desert?

This is a childhood dream. What would happen if pipes were installed (similar in principle to the Great Man-Made River, but for seawater) to continuously pump seawater into the Sahara desert. Let'...
15
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2answers
917 views

How do the known abrupt climate change events fit into the xkcd Earth temperature timeline?

The xkcd "Earth Temperature Timeline" depicts the global average temperature during the past 20,000 years, based on the known data. We already have a question about the chart's general accuracy, but I ...
15
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1answer
305 views

How will climate change affect the 3D distribution of lapse rate in the atmosphere?

The lapse rate is the rate at which temperature decreases with height. By "3D" distribution, I mean distribution across all latitudes, longitudes, and heights. Would climate change change the lapse ...
15
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1answer
346 views

Can climate models reliably predict meteorological extremes?

This question is related to and extension of my previous question which was about the methodology used to predict future climatic extremes: What is the methodology to analyze future climatic extremes ...
14
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4answers
3k views

Why do greenhouse gases affect ocean temperature so much?

As I understand it, greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the sun. Much of that radiation would otherwise continue and be absorbed on the planet surface in the ocean or on land. If CO2 ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Simple Climate Models that Predict Climate Change

I have a physics/maths background, and to me the most convincing evidence of a scientific fact is often a very simple model that gives reasonable results. A simplified model, which you can fully ...
14
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1answer
527 views

Temperature as a function of luminosity and greenhouse gas concentrations

The evidence seems clear that there is an interrelationship between solar luminosity, greenhouse gas concentrations, and temperature. Has temperature as a function of luminosity and greenhouse gas ...
14
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2answers
542 views

Could the Dead Sea dry up? and if so, when?

According to recent findings, during the last interglacial period, about 120,000 years ago, the precursor of the Dead Sea (Lake Lisan) dried up perhaps entirely. Today, the Dead Sea level is dropping ...
14
votes
4answers
802 views

How did plants adapt to $\small\sf{CO_2}$ levels past 400k years? Why won't they do it again?

(Description from climate.nasa.gov: This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric $\small\sf{...
13
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4answers
958 views

How to tell if a single day of weather is an anomaly or due to climate change?

I am interested in understanding how to tell if a single day of 'abnormal' weather is due to climate change or not. From my understanding, you would compare this day's weather to historical weather. ...
13
votes
5answers
245 views

How will increased $\ce{CO2}$ affect forests and other vegetative areas?

Some researchers contend that increases in atmospheric CO2 (e.g. from anthropogenic emissions) will enhance plant growth in general. What is the level of that enhancement? Does the associated ...
13
votes
1answer
448 views

Who are the 3% in the often cited “97% of climate scientists”?

The media have variously reported that: Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. Based on this ...
13
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5answers
4k views

How to reduce the atmospheric temperature artificially?

Is there any gas/substance which absorbs/reduces atmospheric temperature? Ozone filters UV rays from the sun light and allows in infrared rays. In my knowledge these infrared rays are the cause of ...
13
votes
3answers
18k views

How has and how does the lithosphere affect climate change?

The climatic system can be divided into five main components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, the cryosphere and the biosphere. All these physical systems operate at different time ...
13
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3answers
4k views

How will sea level rise be distributed across the globe?

Sea level rise from melting glaciers will not be uniformly distributed across the globe. However, it isn't clear to me what places will have the most and least extreme changes in sea level rise. I ...
13
votes
1answer
770 views

Is it possible to forecast ocean salinity 100 years into the future?

Paleosalinity is measured by chloricity of pore fluids (Adkins 2002). Current data are provided by the CORA dataset. In addition to answers to the main question, there are a few more points I'd like ...
13
votes
0answers
655 views

How will climate change affect the entropy budget of the atmosphere?

The entropy per unit mass of moist air can be defined as $$s=(1-q_t)(C_{pd} \ln{T}-R_d\ln{p_d})+q_tC_l\ln{T} + \frac{q_vL_v}{T}-q_vR_v\ln{\mathcal{H}}$$ And in statistical equilibrium, the entropy ...
12
votes
1answer
469 views

Did global warming cause the extreme cold 2013-14 winter in North America?

There have been some claims made (example) that global warming had something to do with why the 2013-2014 winter was so cold in the Midwest area of America. If this is true then how did global ...
12
votes
2answers
306 views

How stable is the Gulf Stream? Could it stop suddenly?

I'm not completely clear on what Western intensification means, but it looks like a pretty powerful (combination of) forces that presumably wouldn't be likely to change on a timescale of years (or ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

When will the Final Ice Age happen?

As the Sun's luminosity slowly rises, the Earth's surface temperature will climb. Will Earth ever be too warm to have any more glacial periods? If so, when will that be? Edit: The existing answer ...
12
votes
1answer
272 views

Where does the biggest land-based ice cap reside?

I'm thinking biggest in volume, regarding which area of the planet will contribute more to a raising in sea level - were the ice in those regions to melt. I can basically think of to candidates, ...