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Learn About Climate Change
The science is unequivocal — the Earth’s climate has grown warmer, and many changes since the 1950s are unprecedented. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen. Moreover, the trend is continuing. By 2100 a global mean temperature increase of 1.1 to 2.6°C is expected under a moderate emissions scenario.
Leading climate experts worldwide agree that it is extremely likely human influence — in particular, release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases by burning fossil fuels — has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century: see Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, part of Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the International Panel on Climate Change.
With a warmer climate come consequences for communities in British Columbia, across Canada and around the world. Some regions may see benefits, such as a longer growing season. Many will face challenges. There is a greater likelihood of extreme weather events (storms, heavy precipitation, flood and drought) and changes to natural ecological systems. With these come risks to human health, economic activity and community infrastructure.
Ready to learn about climate change? Let’s get started.
WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE?
The International Panel on Climate Change defines climate change this way:
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 the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.
— Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, part of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report
For more on terms, see the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Glossaries and the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium Glossary.
Global impacts of climate change include: