Everything you need to know about global warming

24 Cards

CURATED BY Brad Plumer

2014-05-29 20:22:52 -0400

  1. What is global warming?
  2. Is global warming the same thing as climate change?
  3. How do we know global warming is really happening?
  4. How do we know humans are responsible for global warming?
  5. Where do greenhouse-gas emissions come from?
  6. How has global warming affected the world so far?
  7. How high will temperatures rise if global warming continues?
  8. What impacts will global warming have in the future?
  9. What is sea-level rise?
  10. What is ocean acidification?
  11. Is it dangerous to have more than 2°C of global warming?
  12. What happens if the world heats up more drastically — say, 4°C?
  13. How much could global warming cost the economy?
  14. How do we stop global warming?
  15. How do we reduce greenhouse-gas emissions?
  16. Can't we just adapt to global warming?
  17. What are the UN climate talks?
  18. What is geoengineering?
  19. Did climate change cause today’s awful weather?
  20. What is climate skepticism?
  21. It’s cold outside! Does that disprove global warming?
  22. Hasn't global warming slowed down in the last 15 years?
  23. You didn't answer my question!
  24. What else should I be reading about global warming?
  1. Card 1 of 24

    What is global warming?

  2. Card 2 of 24

    Is global warming the same thing as climate change?

  3. Card 3 of 24

    How do we know global warming is really happening?

  4. Card 4 of 24

    How do we know humans are responsible for global warming?

  5. Card 5 of 24

    Where do greenhouse-gas emissions come from?

  6. Card 6 of 24

    How has global warming affected the world so far?

    Here's a list of ongoing changes that climate scientists have concluded are likely linked to global warming, as detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) here and here.

    Higher temperatures: Every continent has warmed substantially since mid-century. There are more hot days and fewer cold days, on average, and the hot days are hotter.

    Heavier storms: The world's atmosphere can hold more moisture as it warms. As a result, the overall number of heavier storms has likely increased since mid-century, particularly in North America and Europe (though there's plenty of regional variation).

    Heat waves: Heat waves have likely become longer and more frequent around the world over the last 50 years, particularly in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

    Shrinking sea ice: The extent of sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk since 1979, by between 3.5 percent to 4.1 percent per decade, on average. Summer sea ice has dwindled even more rapidly:

    Sea_ice_large

    IPCC

    Shrinking glaciers: Glaciers around the world have, on average, been losing ice since the 1970s. In some areas, that is reducing the amount of available freshwater.

    Sea-level rise: Global sea levels rose 25 centimeters (9.8 inches) in the 19th and 20th centuries, after 2,000 years of relatively little change. The pace of sea-level rise has continued to increase in recent decades. Sea-level rise is caused by both the thermal expansion of the oceans — as water warms up, it expands — and the melting of glaciers and ice sheets.

    Food supply: A hotter climate can be both good for crops (it lengthens the growing season, and more carbon-dioxide can increase photosynthesis) and bad for crops (excess heat can damage plants). The IPCC found that global warming was currently benefiting crops in some high-latitude areas, but that negative effects were becoming increasingly common worldwide.

    Shifting species: Many land and marine species have had to shift their geographic ranges in response to warmer temperatures. So far, only a few extinctions have been linked to global warming, such as for certain frog species in Central America.

    Questionable impacts

    Here are a few other ways the climate has been changing — but scientists are still debating whether and how they're linked to global warming:

    Droughts have become more frequent and more intense in some parts of the world — such as the U.S. Southwest, Mediterranean Europe, West Africa — though it's hard to identify a clear global trend. In other parts of the world — the midwestern United States, northwestern Australia — droughts appear to have become less frequent. There's still a fair bit of debate on how global warming has affected droughts so far.

    Hurricanes have clearly become more intense in the North Atlantic Ocean since 1970, the IPCC says. But it's less clear whether global warming is driving this. And there doesn't yet seem to be any clear trend for tropical cyclones worldwide.

  7. Card 7 of 24

    How high will temperatures rise if global warming continues?

  8. Card 8 of 24

    What impacts will global warming have in the future?

  9. Card 9 of 24

    What is sea-level rise?

  10. Card 10 of 24

    What is ocean acidification?

  11. Card 11 of 24

    Is it dangerous to have more than 2°C of global warming?

  12. Card 12 of 24

    What happens if the world heats up more drastically — say, 4°C?

  13. Card 13 of 24

    How much could global warming cost the economy?

  14. Card 14 of 24

    How do we stop global warming?

  15. Card 15 of 24

    How do we reduce greenhouse-gas emissions?

  16. Card 16 of 24

    Can't we just adapt to global warming?

  17. Card 17 of 24

    What are the UN climate talks?

  18. Card 18 of 24

    What is geoengineering?

  19. Card 19 of 24

    Did climate change cause today’s awful weather?

  20. Card 20 of 24

    What is climate skepticism?

  21. Card 21 of 24

    It’s cold outside! Does that disprove global warming?

  22. Card 22 of 24

    Hasn't global warming slowed down in the last 15 years?

  23. Card 23 of 24

    You didn't answer my question!

  24. Card 24 of 24

    What else should I be reading about global warming?

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