Scientists develop computer Global Climate Models or GCMs based on estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions, climate forcing factors, and the laws of physics. Once they verify a GCM through accurately simulating Earth's climate history, they use the GCM to predict climate in the near future.
Main floor of the Earth Simulator Center in Yokohama, Japan that has 160 computer processor nodes, each containing 8 computer processor units.
Earth's Hot Past: Prologue to Future Climate?
Study of Earth's deep past leads to look into the future
The magnitude of climate change during Earth's deep...
ClimateLast Updated on 2014-10-01 10:48:54
Climate is the typical pattern of conditions of the earth’s atmosphere over a given region, as defined by factors such as temperature, air pressure. humidity, precipitation, sunlight, cloudiness, and winds. The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as "the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time," where an appropriate period is typically at least thirty years. Climate can be assessed at different, overlapping geographic regions. For example, Earth is thought to have a climate that is distinct from that of other planets, while different regions of Earth are also thought to have distinct climate types. Climate is often described as the "average" conditions; however, since daily and seasonal variability (including extremes) are critical determinants, using the term... More »
Human population explosionLast Updated on 2014-02-26 17:23:15
Approximately 7.2 billion humans inhabited the Earth in year 2013. By comparison, there might be 500,000 elephants of different kinds, 200,000 chimpanzees, 100,000 gorillas, 20,000 polar bears, 3,000 tigers, 2,000 giant pandas and 200 California condors. Notably, the human population has grown about ten-fold over the past 300 years and nearly four-fold in just the last century. This monumental historical development has profoundly changed the relationship of our species to its natural support systems and has greatly intensified our environmental impact, particularly regarding species extinctions. Equally amazing are the signs that, in our generation, the human population explosion is abating (Figure 1; note that, here and below, many of the values given are estimates and, after the year 2005, projections). Our numbers are expected to rise by another 50%... More »
Temperature rise 'slows economy in poor countries'Last Updated on 2012-08-20 00:00:00
Paula Park reports in SciDev.Net on August 16, 2012, that [s]mall increases in temperature may have reduced the industrial and agricultural production of poor countries, according to a study by Melissa Dell and Benjamin A. Olken at MIT and Benjamin F. Jones at Northwestern University.
Temperature rise 'slows economy
in poor countries'
Higher temperatures may also have contributed to political instability in these countries — defined as those with below-median per capita income, adjusted for the purchasing power of the country's currency — according to the study published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics last month. In contrast, rich countries have so far shown no measurable economic or political consequences resulting from temperature change.
"Temperature fluctuations can have large negative impacts on poor... More »
Linking extreme heat events to global warmingLast Updated on 2012-08-07 00:00:00
An analysis by James Hansen and colleagues suggests that recent episodes of extremely warm summers, including the intense heat wave afflicting the U.S. Midwest this year, very likely are the consequence of global warming.
Research Links Extreme Summer Heat Events to Global Warming
A statistical analysis (Perception of climate change) by NASA scientists has found that Earth's land areas have become much more likely to experience an extreme summer heat wave than they were in the middle of the 20th century. The research was published August 6, 2012, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Earth's Northern Hemisphere over the past 30 years has seen more "hot" (orange), "very hot" (red) and "extremely hot" (brown) summers, compared to a base period defined in... More »
Alpine plants: missing flowering date Last Updated on 2012-07-14 00:00:00
A study conducted over 38 years shows one species' timing has shifted by 13 days. In a changing climate, that "hurry-up-and-flower" date is moving ever earlier on the calendar. How quickly can plants respond?
It's Wildflower Season on Mountain Peaks,
But Alpine Plants May Soon Miss the Date
July brings a riot of color--a rainbow-hued carpet of wildflowers--to the high peaks of the Rockies. In these mountain environments, however, plants have a narrow window of opportunity to set their buds.
Now, in a changing climate, that hurry-up-and-flower date is moving ever earlier on the calendar. How quickly can plants respond? The alpine growing season in places like the Rockies doesn't begin until snows melt, sometimes as late as June. Snows may fall again by October. In such habitats, snow covers the ground for eight to nine months of the year--or... More »
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