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Climate Change Basics

Short answers to hard questions about climate change

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Climate change is a complex issue, with many interconnected pieces. The New York Times has created a resource that provides quick and understandable explanations to 16 questions about climate change. It’s a great resource for those just learning about the issues and those who want to know how to more easily talk about climate change.

Go to the New York Times: Short answers to hard questions about climate change

Climbing Carbon Dioxide Levels

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The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere, measured in parts per million or “ppm”, provides us with a tangible way to measure global warming trends.  Atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements have been collected directly at Mauna Loa Observatory on the island of Hawai’i for 50 years. 

Climate Change Trends

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CC trendsClimate change is already creating problems for both human and natural systems.

Scientists have documented changes in:

  • Temperature
  • Sea level
  • Heat waves
  • Severe storms
  • Precipitation
  • Wildfire
  • Snow pack
  • Species distribution

While each and every extreme event can’t be blamed on climate change, the frequency and severity of such events are both increasing over time. A useful analogy is the recent uptick in the use of steroids in professional baseball – can you attribute any single home run to the use of steroids? Not really. Climate change is basically the climate – on steroids.

Impacts from Climate Change

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austin lake travis boatClimate related impacts are already being felt, and are expected to worsen across all sectors of our communities. Many impacts specific to regions of the United States have been documented in the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s 2014 National Climate Assessment.

Some examples of expected impacts include:


Introductory Resources

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books and globe

Available information on climate change is abundant online, but much of it is misleading or misrepresents the science. For more introductory information on climate change, we recommend the following reputable sources.

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