Introduction | The Sun | Energy | The Greenhouse Effect | What Affects Climate? | Climate Change?
Are Climates Changing?
Like many questions in science, the question of how our planet is warming includes some parts that are very well understood and other parts that are not as well understood. Scientists use what we know about how the Earth works to make a special type of computer program called a global climate model. Global climate models help us predict how global warming may affect our planet in dozens to hundreds of years. To get the best predictions, scientists compare the results of many different model experiments and check results with data we have observed. A detailed outlook for the next 100 years is updated every few years by thousands of experts from around the world.
Here are some things that we know:
Here’s what models have predicted for the next 100 years:
We may know that the Earth will continue to warm as the amount of greenhouse gasses increases. But what we do not know is how this will affect people, plants, and animals. Some regions will become considerably hotter or cooler, or wetter or drier, than others. Some places might have stronger storms or stronger droughts. All these changes can affect the way people live their lives and the way ecosystems exist.