DISCLAIMER: This article is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at last review, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information.
Species and global climate change
Comiso, Josefino C. Cryospheric Sciences Branch, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, Maryland.
- Global analyses
- Aquatic ecosystems
- Terrestrial ecosystems
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Observations started by Charles Keeling at Manoa Loa, Hawaii, in the 1950s provided the indisputable evidence that anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing at an alarming rate. The current level is more than 380 parts per million by volume, which is already much higher than the natural range of 180 to 300 ppm in the past 650,000 years as recorded by ice cores. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which, according to earlier calculations by Svante Arrhenius in the 1890s and confirmed by current numerical models, can cause a warming of our planet. Other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitric oxide have also been increasing, further exacerbating the problem. Meanwhile, since the beginning of the twentieth century, the surface air temperature of the Earth as measured by meteorological stations has increased by about 0.7°C (1.2°F). The data also show that the rate of increase in the last 50 years has been twice as great as the rate in the last 100 years, with the 10 warmest years on record occurring since 1995. Among the key issues associated with global warming is the fate of millions of species that inhabit the Earth. Warming disrupts and alters the ecosystems and therefore the diversity of plant and animal species in the systems. In this regard, the polar regions have been the center of attention, because climate signals in these regions are expected to be amplified by as much as three to five times as a result of ice–albedo feedbacks. (Albedo is the fraction of solar energy reflected by a surface. In ice–albedo feedback loops, melting ice resulting from warmer temperatures causes a lowering of the albedo, which leads to even more ice melting.)
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information