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Climate Change In the Free Online Encyclopedia  Mike Johnston
 Feb 05, 2007 12:45 PST 

Note: The linked article below seems to be a reasonably good resource
for anyone who is interested in learning about climate change.

Climate change refers to the variation in the Earth's global climate or
in regional climates over time. It describes changes in the variability
or average state of the atmosphere—or average weather—over time scales
ranging from decades to millions of years. These changes may come from
processes internal to the Earth, be driven by external forces (e.g.
variations in sunlight intensity) or, most recently, be caused by human
activities.In recent usage, especially in the context of environmental
policy, the term "climate change" often refers only to the ongoing
changes in modern climate, including the rise in average surface
temperature known as global warming. In some cases, the term is also
used with a presumption of human causation, as in the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC
uses "climate variability" for non-human caused variations.[1]For
information on temperature measurements over various periods, and the
data sources available, see temperature record. For attribution of
climate change over the past century, see attribution of recent climate
change. Climate change factors Climate changes reflect variations
within the Earth's environment, natural processes going on around it,
and the impact of human activity. The external factors which can shape
climate are often called climate forcings and include such processes as
variations in solar radiation, the Earth's orbit, and greenhouse gas
concentrations. Variations within the Earth's climate Weather, in and
of itself, is a chaotic non-linear dynamical system, but in many cases,
it is observed that the climate (i.e., the average state of weather) is
fairly stable and predictable. This includes the average temperature,
amount of precipitation, days of sunlight, and many other variables
that might be measured at any given site. However, there are also
changes within the Earth's environment that can affect the climate.

Posted By Mike Johnston to H2OPower at 2/05/2007 03:29:00 AM
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