"We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be." - John Holdren

Climate Change Caused by Humans
Impact of Climate Change

"The research community provides much information to support discussions on 'dangerous climate change'. Recent observations show that societies and ecosystems are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and communities, ecosystem services and biodiversity particularly at risk. Temperature rises above 2oC will be difficult for contemporary societies to cope with, and are likely to cause major societal and environmental disruptions through the rest of the century and beyond." -- Synthesis Report from the Climate Change Congress (2009)

"Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for—and in many cases is already affecting—a broad range of human and natural systems. Individually and collectively, these changes pose risks for a wide range of human and environmental systems, including freshwater resources, the coastal environment, ecosystems, agriculture, fisheries, human health, and national security, among others." -- U.S. National Research Council (2010)

Unfortunately, the equilibrium global surface air temperature change due to a doubling of CO2 from 280 ppm (pre-Industrial Revolution) to 560 ppm is likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5oC with a best estimate of about 3oC, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5oC (Knutti and Hegerl, 2008; IPCC, 2007). As this section of Web pages will reveal, 3 oC will have serious negative consequences for life on this planet.


General Overview
Sea Level Rise & the Coastal Environment
Freshwater Resources
Ecosystems, Ecosystem Services, and Biodiversity
     Ocean Acidification

Topics below are forthcoming:

Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Production
Public Health
     Allergies & Asthma
National and Human Security
Africa
Asia
Australia and New Zealand
Europe
Latin America
North America
     United States
Polar Regions (Arctic and Antarctic)
Small Islands
Global Tipping Points
Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
     1 oC Warmer World
     2 oC Warmer World
     3 oC Warmer World
     4 oC Warmer World
     5 oC Warmer World
     6 oC Warmer World


I highly recommend the following resources which were used extensively in this section of the Website: According to IPCC WGII (2007): Figure 1 (IPCC, 2007) shows locations of significant changes in physical systems (snow, ice and frozen ground; hydrology; and coastal processes) and biological systems (terrestrial,marine, and freshwater biological systems), along with surface air temperature changes over the period 1970-2004. A subset of about 29,000 data series was selected from about 80,000 data series from 577 studies. These met the following criteria: (1) ending in 1990 or later; (2) spanning a period of at least 20 years; and (3) showing a significant change in either direction, as assessed in individual studies. It is clear that global warming has caused singificant changes in many physical and biological systems.

Significant changes due to global warming
Fig. 1: Locations of significant changes in data series of physical systems (snow, ice and frozen ground; hydrology; and coastal processes) and biological systems (terrestrial, marine, and freshwater biological systems), are shown together with surface air temperature changes over the period 1970-2004.

Figure 2 (IPCC, 2007) shows the key impacts of climate change as global average temperature rises toward 5 oC.

Key Impacts vs Increasing Global T
Fig. 2: Key Impacts vs Increasing Global T

Figure 3 (IPCC, 2007) shows the possible impacts of climate change due to changes in extreme weather and climate events.

Possible Impacts Due to Extremes
Fig. 3: Impacts of climate change due to changes in extreme weather & climate events

Next: Sea Level Rise & the Coastal Environment



Scott A. Mandia
Professor - Physical Sciences
T-202 Smithtown Sciences Bldg.
S.C.C.C.
533 College Rd.
Selden, NY 11784
(631) 451-4104
mandias@sunysuffolk.edu
http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/

Last updated: 06/05/10