Climate System

collapse Topic : Causes of Climate Change ‎(2)
Cyclical and Natural Changes
Human-Caused Changes
collapse Topic : Climate System ‎(12)
Atmospheric Circulation
Atmospheric Composition
Carbon Cycle
Climate Compared to Weather
Climate Feedbacks
Global Energy Balance
Greenhouse Effect
Ocean and Climate
Orbital Cycles
Regional Climates
Solar Radiation
Water Cycle
collapse Topic : Human Responses to Climate Change ‎(3)
Personal Responsibility
Risk Management
Social Values
collapse Topic : Impacts of Climate Change ‎(13)
Agricultural Changes
Economic Impacts
Ecosystem Changes
Extreme Weather
Freshwater Resources
Great Lakes Impacts
Melting Ice and Permafrost
Ocean Warming and Acidification
Plants and Animals
Public Health
Sea Level Rise
Surface Temperature Warming
collapse Topic : Measuring and Modeling Climate ‎(2)
Climate Modeling
Gathering and Measuring Climate Data

Greenhouse Effect

Greenhouse gasses are what make life on Earth possible.

  • The presence of small amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere warms Earth’s surface, resulting in a planet that sustains liquid water and life.

The amount of solar energy absorbed or radiated by earth is modulated by the atmosphere and depends on its composition.

  • Greenhouse gases – such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane – occur naturally in small amounts and absorb and release heat energy more efficiently than abundant atmospheric gases like nitrogen and oxygen. Small increases in carbon dioxide concentration have a large effect on the climate system.


Current greenhouse gas output is greater than the rate at which it can be naturally removed

  • Natural processes that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere operate slowly when compared to the processes that are now adding it to the atmosphere. Thus, carbon dioxide introduced into the atmosphere today may remain there for a century or more. Other greenhouse gases, including some created by humans, may remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.