National Academies Press: OpenBook

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes: Update 2020 (2020)

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Suggested Citation:"Table of Contents." National Academy of Sciences. 2020. Climate Change: Evidence and Causes: Update 2020. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25733.
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CONTENTS

SUMMARY

CLIMATE CHANGE Q&A

1 Is the climate warming?

2 How do scientists know that recent climate change is largely caused by human activities?

3 CO2 is already in the atmosphere naturally, so why are emissions from human activity significant?

4 What role has the Sun played in climate change in recent decades?

5 What do changes in the vertical structure of atmospheric temperature—from the surface up to the stratosphere—tell us about the causes of recent climate change?

6 Climate is always changing. Why is climate change of concern now?

7 Is the current level of atmospheric CO2 concentration unprecedented in Earth’s history?

8 Is there a point at which adding more CO2 will not cause further warming?

9 Does the rate of warming vary from one decade to another?

10 Did the slowdown of warming during the 2000s to early 2010s mean that climate change is no longer happening?

THE BASICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

CLIMATE CHANGE Q&A (continued)

11 If the world is warming, why are some winters and summers still very cold?

12 Why is Arctic sea ice decreasing while Antarctic sea ice has changed little?

13 How does climate change affect the strength and frequency of floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes?

14 How fast is sea level rising?

15 What is ocean acidification and why does it matter?

16 How confident are scientists that Earth will warm further over the coming century?

17 Are climate changes of a few degrees a cause for concern?

18 What are scientists doing to address key uncertainties in our understanding of the climate system?

19 Are disaster scenarios about tipping points like “turning off the Gulf Stream” and release of methane from the Arctic a cause for concern?

20 If emissions of greenhouse gases were stopped, would the climate return to the conditions of 200 years ago?

CONCLUSION

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Page 1
Suggested Citation:"Table of Contents." National Academy of Sciences. 2020. Climate Change: Evidence and Causes: Update 2020. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25733.
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Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth's climate. The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, with their similar missions to promote the use of science to benefit society and to inform critical policy debates, produced the original Climate Change: Evidence and Causes in 2014. It was written and reviewed by a UK-US team of leading climate scientists. This new edition, prepared by the same author team, has been updated with the most recent climate data and scientific analyses, all of which reinforce our understanding of human-caused climate change.

Scientific information is a vital component for society to make informed decisions about how to reduce the magnitude of climate change and how to adapt to its impacts. This booklet serves as a key reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and others seeking authoritative answers about the current state of climate-change science.

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