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1. Climate change and its causes
2. The impacts of global warming
3. Coping with climate change…read more

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1. Climate change and its causes
Climate change is on a variety of scales:
1. Short-term change
Climate over the last few decades
- hundred years e.g.El Nino, La
Nina (very short)
2. Medium-term change
Global climate over billions of years
3. Long-term change
Climates from thousands / millions of years ago…read more

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Evidence for past climatic change
Climate varies on all time scales from the short ­term (the recent retreat of
glaciers) to the long-term (deposition of desert sediments to form sandstone) in
response to random and periodic forcing factors.
Some of these could be due
to short-term changes e.g.
random variations (noise) in
the climatic systems.
Present day ice limit
Extent of glacier
retreat in little over
50 years
Ice limit in 1946…read more

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Past Climates
What was the climate like 740,000 years ago?
· Scientists extracted an Antarctic ice core
3000m long
· This represents 740,000 years of snow, with
each year preserved like an annual growth
ring in a tree.
· By analysing the gases in each year's
deposit we can tell how much CO2 there was
in the atmosphere in that year
· Isotopes trapped in the ice can be used to
calculate the atmospheric temperature for
each year…read more

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Past Climates
· There have been 8 ice ages and 8 warm periods over the last
740,000 years
Age in
years…read more

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