Climate change

In recent years many environmental problems have come to public consciousness. Of all of these problems, global climate change could prove to be the most dramatic and least reversible. It could have profound implications for the health of humans and other beings.

A climate change is quite different from a change in the weather. While weather constantly changes, climate is relatively stable. One can discuss the North American climate during the last ice age, but when one talks about the cold and snow in Boulder, Colorado, yesterday, they are talking about the weather. Weather systems last from a few hours to a few weeks and range from about 10 to 10,000 horizontal kilometers in size. A climate regime may persist for millennia, with variability in temperature and precipitation being part of a stable climate system. The climate system involves complex interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, snow and ice cover, and the biosphere. Researchers are learning that human activity is also a part of the dynamic that affects climate.

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