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For past climate change see Paleoclimatology and Geologic temperature record. For scientific and political disputes, see Global warming controversy and Climate change consensus.
1880-2009 Global mean surface temperature difference relative to the 1961–1990 average
Comparison of ground based (blue) and satellite based (red: UAH; green: RSS) records of temperature variations since 1979. Trends plotted since January 1982.
Mean surface temperature change for the period 2000 to 2009 relative to the average temperatures from 1951 to 1980.
Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation. According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 20th century.[A] Most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century has been caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, which result from human activity such as the burning of fossil fuel and deforestation. Global dimming, a result of increasing concentrations of atmospheric aerosols that block sunlight from reaching the surface, has partially countered the effects of warming induced by greenhouse gases.
Climate model projections summarized in the latest IPCC report indicate that the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the 21st century. The uncertainty in this estimate arises from the use of models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas concentrations and the use of differing estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions. An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably... [continues]
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"Global Warming." StudyMode.com. 10, 2010. Accessed 10, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Global-Warming-435861.html.