Global warming is the term used to describe a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and its oceans, a change that is believed to be permanently changing the Earth’s climate. There is great debate among many people, and sometimes in the news, on whether global warming is real (some call it a hoax). But climate scientists looking at the data and facts agree the planet is warming.
While many view the effects of global warming to be more substantial and more rapidly occurring than others do, the scientific consensus on climatic changes related to global warming is that the average temperature of the Earth has risen between 0.4 and 0.8 °C over the past 100 years. The increased volumes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels, land clearing, agriculture, and other human activities, are believed to be the primary sources of the global warming that has occurred over the past 50 years.
Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate carrying out global warming research have recently predicted that average global temperatures could increase between 1.4 and 5.8 °C by the year 2100. Changes resulting from global warming may include rising sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps, as well as an increase in occurrence and severity of storms and other severe weather events.
During a meeting today (May 24) at the Vatican, Pope Francis not only urged President Donald Trump to be a peacemaker, but also brought up the need to protect planet Earth — the pope gave the U.S. president his 2015 encyclical on the environment.
A year ago, climate scientist Ed Hawkins unveiled a climate visual that wowed the world: an animated spiral showing the inexorable rise of global temperatures thanks to humanity's release of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
Space.com talked with author Kim Stanley Robinson about how he developed his vision of a drowned New York, his thoughts on climate change and what role fiction has to play in determining what humans do next.