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Product title :

The origin of climate changes

Author(s) : P. Delecluse

Summary :

Investigation on climate change is coordinated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has the delicate task of collecting recent knowledge on climate change and the related impacts of the observed changes, and then developing a consensus statement from these findings. The IPCC’s last review, published at the end of 2007, summarised major findings on the present climate situation. The observations show a clear increase in the temperature of the Earth’s surface and the oceans, a reduction in the land snow cover, and melting of the sea ice and glaciers. Numerical modelling combined with statistical analysis has shown that this warming trend is very likely the signature of increasing emissions of greenhouse gases linked with human activities. Given the continuing social and economic development around the world, the IPCC emission scenarios forecast an increasing greenhouse effect, at least until 2050 according to the most optimistic models. The model ensemble predicts a rising temperature that will reach dangerous levels for the biosphere and ecosystems within this century. Hydrological systems and the potential significant impacts of these systems on the environment are also discussed. Facing this challenging future, societies must take measures to reduce emissions and work on adapting to an inexorably changing environment. Present knowledge is sufficient to start taking action, but a stronger foundation is needed to ensure that pertinent long-term choices are made that will meet the demands of an interactive and rapidly evolving world.

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