"The climate system is a complex, interactive system consisting of the atmosphere, land surface, snow and ice, oceans and other bodies of water, and living things. The atmospheric component of the climate system most obviously characterises climate; climate is often defined as 'average weather'. Climate is usually described in terms of the mean and variability of temperature, precipitation and wind over a period of time, ranging from months to millions of years (the classical period is 30 years). The climate system evolves in time under the influence of its own internal dynamics and due to changes in external factors that affect climate (called'forcings'). External forcings include natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions and solar variations, as well as human-induced changes in atmospheric composition. Solar radiation powers the climate system. There are three fundamental ways to change the radiation balance of the Earth: 1) by changing the incoming solar radiation (e.g., by changes in Earth's orbit or in the Sun itself); 2) by changing the fraction of solar radiation that is reflected (called 'albedo'; e.g., by changes in cloud cover, atmospheric particles or vegetation); and 3) by altering the longwave radiation from Earth back towards space (e.g., by changing greenhouse gas concentrations). Climate, in turn, responds directly to such changes, as well as indirectly, through a variety of feedback mechanisms. ..." See the full text article at Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report Climate Change2007. (IPCC AR4 2007)
SOURCE: "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report Climate Change2007" http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-1-1.html Last accessed 1/5/2012
"The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long period of time." See the full text article at NASA: Climate & Global Change.
SOURCE: NASA: Climate & Global Change http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html Last accessed 1/5/2012.
"Carbon is transferred between CO2 and living or dead organic material by the very basic photosynthesis / respiration reaction (shown here in simplified form).
CO2+H2O+energy <=> CH2O + O2
When this reaction proceeds to the right, it is the fixation of carbon to organic matter by plants via photosynthesis; and when it proceeds to the left, it is respiration or combustion of that organic matter. Fossil fuels are the remnants of dead organic matter that lived millions of years ago. ..." See the full text article at Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Center for Climatic Research.Carbon Cycle: Global
SOURCE: Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Center for Climatic Research, IPCC AR4 (2007) Fig 7.3., Last accessed 1/5/2012.
"It's simple, really: As long as we pour CO2; into the atmosphere faster than nature drains it out, the planet warms. And that extra carbon takes a long time to drain out of the tub.
A fundamental human flaw, says John Sterman, impedes action on global warming. Sterman is not talking about greed, selfishness, or some other vice. He's talking about a cognitive limitation, "an important and pervasive problem in human reasoning" that he has documented by testing graduate students at the MIT Sloan School of Management. ..." See the full text article at National Geographic, December 2009.
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SOURCE: "The Carbon Bathtub," National Geographic, December 2009. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/big-idea/05/carbon-bath Last accessed 1/5/2012.
Founding Fathers of the Global Warming Debate (watch video)
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Source: Video clip by Earth Report, © TVE – Television for the Environment – http://www.tve.org, http://video.answers.com/founding-fathers-of-the-global-warming-debate-495322238, Last accessed 1/5/2012