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Engineering LibreTexts

4: Climate and Global Change

  • Page ID
    12026
    • 4.1: Climate and Global Change – Chapter Introduction
      The Earth’s climate is changing. The scientific consensus is that by altering the composition of the atmosphere humans are increasing the average temperature of the Earth’s surface. This process has already begun – the planet is measurably warmer than it was at the start of the last century – but scientists predict the change that will occur over the 21st century will be even greater.
    • 4.2: Climate Processes; External and Internal Controls
      The Earth's climate is continually changing. If we are to understand the current climate and predict the climate of the future, we need to be able to account for the processes that control the climate. One hundred million years ago, much of North America was arid and hot, with giant sand dunes common across the continent's interior.
    • 4.3: Milankovitch Cycles and the Climate of the Quaternary
      The most recent period of Earth's geologic history—spanning the last 2.6 million years—is known as the Quaternary period. This is an important period for us because it encompasses the entire period over which humans have existed—our species evolved about 200,000 years ago.
    • 4.4: Modern Climate Change
      In previous modules, an examination of the geologic record of the earth’s climate in the Quaternary Period revealed the primary drivers of climate change.
    • 4.5: Climate Projections
      In the Module Modern Climate Change we discovered that the global warming of approximately 1°C over the past 200 years was human induced through an enhancement of the natural greenhouse effect. We learned that the burning of fossil fuels has upset the natural carbon cycle, which has steadily increased the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere since the 1750s.