North, Gerald R. Climate System Research Program, Department of Meteorology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
Firor, John W. Advanced Study Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.
Rhodes, Steven L. Environmental and Societal Impacts Group, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.
Last reviewed:December 2016
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- Climate modification, published October 2015:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Climate modification, published June 2014:Download PDF Get Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Global warming
- Heat-trapping gases
- Climate warming impacts
- Climate change impacts
- Physical processes
- Natural ecosystems
- Additional Readings
Alteration of the Earth's climate by human activities; humans have the capacity to modify the Earth's climate in several important ways. Humans are inadvertently altering the atmospheric chemical composition on a global scale, and this is likely to lead to an unprecedented warming of the global atmosphere (see illustration). It comes about by anthropogenic injection into the atmosphere of relatively inert trace gases that perturb the radiation balance of the globe as a whole. Most of this gaseous waste comes from burning fuels that contain carbon and nitrogen. Other sources include inert gases used in aerosol spray cans and cooling devices. See also: Atmosphere; Atmospheric chemistry; Climatic prediction; Weather modification
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