Human Factors

Human factors such as population growth, consumption per person, and values have become a major influence on Earth's climate.

Apartment complex in Hong Kong. Humans are responsible for a major portion of the observed rapid changes in Earth's climate.

Stewart Johnston

 Consumption

Population

Values

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: The Fate of the Oil Last Updated on 2015-02-02 17:02:07 Summary The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig led to the largest oil spill in U.S. waters. Federal government officials estimated that the deepwater well ultimately released (over 84 days) over 200 million gallons (or 4.9 million barrels) of crude oil. Although decreasing amounts of oil were observed on the ocean surface following the well’s containment on July 15, 2010, oil spill response officials and researchers have found oil in other places. A pressing question that has been raised by many stakeholders is where did the oil go? On August 4, 2010, the federal government released an estimate of the oil spill budget for the Deepwater Horizon incident. On November 23, 2010, the federal government released a peerreviewed “Technical Document” that further explained how the estimates were derived, and in some cases, modified the... More »
Human-caused climate change a factor in Mediterranean droughts Last Updated on 2011-10-28 00:00:00 Human-caused climate change a major factor in more frequent Mediterranean droughts Winter precipitation trends in the Mediterranean region for the period 1902 - 2010. High Resolution (Credit: NOAA) Wintertime droughts are increasingly common in the Mediterranean region, and human-caused climate change is partly responsible, according to a new analysis by NOAA scientists and colleagues at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). In the last 20 years, 10 of the driest 12 winters have taken place in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. “The magnitude and frequency of the drying that has occurred is too great to be explained by natural variability alone,” said Martin Hoerling, Ph.D. of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., lead author of a paper published online in the Journal of Climate ... More »
Climate Change Skepticism Last Updated on 2010-12-08 00:00:00 This article, written by Charles W. Schmidt*, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the peer-reviewed, open access journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by Encyclopedia of Earth editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the Encyclopedia of Earth.   A Closer Look at Climate Change Skepticism Debate over climate change is nothing new. Scientists have been arguing about whether greenhouse gases released by human activity might change the climate since the late nineteenth century, when Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius first proposed that industrial emissions might cause global warming.1 Fueled by partisan bickering, this dispute now is more bellicose than ever. Skeptics... More »
Lecture: Stephen Schneider Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Video Last Updated on 2010-10-07 00:00:00 This video is of a lecture that Stephen Schneider presented a number of times. It covers climate change from a risk perspective, discussing the underlying science, uncertainties, and implications of different possible decisions. Here is it captured with many (although not all) of his graphics. It is a well organized, evenly presented lecture that carefully differentiates questions of "what we know" from "what we should do." It presents data and modelling at a level appropriate for undergraduates. More »