Climate Change

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Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or variability of its properties that persist for an extended period, typically decades or longer.

Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions and persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.

Note that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods’.

The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition and climate variability attributable to natural causes.

See also: Climate variability, Global warming, Ocean acidification (OA).

Links

The Royal Society: The Basics of Climate Change