Get to Know the Science Behind Glogal Warming
Our Warming Planet
Largest Environmental Experiment Researchers are participating in the world's largest environmental science experiment.
A New Study by NASA finds that the world’s temperature is reaching a level that has not been seen in thousands of years.
Scientific Report on Climate Change - by Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA's Institute for Space Studies, and the leading authority on climate change. (PDF File)
The Stern Review - We must act now on climate change, or suffer dire consequences. (PDF File)
Twenty-five years ago if you made a trip to the local library and perused the periodical section for articles on global warming, you’d probably have come up with only a few abstracts from hardcore science journals or maybe a blurb in some esoteric geopolitical magazine. As an Internet search on global warming now attests, the subject has become as rooted in our public consciousness as Madonna.
Perhaps all this attention is deserved. With the possible exception of another world war, a giant asteroid, or an incurable plague, global warming may be the single largest threat to our planet. For decades human factories and cars have spewed billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and the climate has begun to show some signs of warming. Many see this as a harbinger of what is to come. If we don’t curb our greenhouse gas emissions, then low-lying nations could be awash in seawater, rain and drought patterns across the world could change, hurricanes could become more frequent, and El Niños could become more intense.
On the other hand, there are those, some of whom are scientists, who believe that global warming will result in little more than warmer winters and increased plant growth. They point to the flaws in scientists’ measurements, the complexity of the climate, and the uncertainty in the climate models used to predict climate change. They claim that attempting to lower greenhouse emissions may do more damage to the world economy and human society than any amount of global warming.
In truth, the future probably fits somewhere between these two scenarios. But to gain an understanding of global warming, it is necessary to get to know the science behind the issue.
April 8, 2002 -- By John Weier, NASA