Climate change simply means a change in climate from the average that we have normally experienced. We have already experienced a warming of global climate of about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1990 due to the build-up of CO2 and other gases in the atmosphere that interfere with radiation (aka heat) entering and leaving the Earth. Based on whether our habits change, scientists predict increases in average global temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius in the near future. Because this is an average, some regions may experience a small temperature increase and some regions may experience a severe temperature increase. Due to feedbacks in atmospheric and ocean circulation, scientists are also predicting warmer summers and colder winters and an increase in extreme weather events.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a group of international scientists who got together to review the scientific evidence of climate change. The most recent meeting, the Fifth Assessment, took place during 2013 - 2014 and resulted in a series of reports, which detailed the physical basis of climate change, impacts and vulnerabilities that we have to climate change, and how we can mitigate these effects. An earlier report by the IPCC described the science behind extreme events.
View one or more of the videos below on the reports and summarize the scientific evidence in a few sentences for your classmates. Then describe your thoughts on the information? How do you think we, as a society, should respond to this information? How should we respond to extreme weather events and rebuilding efforts, if we think that the probability of these events will increase in the near future? How has weather impacted your life and what are your thoughts on the increased probability of events, such as Super Storm Sandy? If you find the science less than convincing, can we risk doing nothing, even if the likelihood of such events is much lower than predicted?
IPCC Geneva, Working Group I (2013 November 21). Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yiTZm0y1YA
IPCC Geneva, Working Group II (2014 March 30). Climate change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMIFBJYpSgM
IPCC Geneva, Working Group III (2014 June 6). Climate change 2014: Mitigation of climate change. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDcGz1iVm6U
IPCC Geneva (2011 November 29). Overview of the IPCC report on extreme events (SREX). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIGeHzuwFSQ
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