Climate change is once again again in the news as the COP21 summit begins this week. The event will feature leaders from around the world who will be looking at climate data. The goal will be to find solutions to keep us under the 2 degree Celsius ceiling to avert serious environmental impacts.
Below, we have assembled some useful graphics and data sources that summarize what we currently know about climate change in 2015. As new information is released, and for highlights of the COP21 summit – follow our FlipBoard magazine – Our Changing Climate.
Climate Change Data
So what is some of the data that they will be looking at? Most likely, one of the first items that will be discussed is that 2015, according to the WMO, is on pace to be the hottest year on record. And the evidence of climate change is not limited to atmospheric data. Here is another graphic that shows the increase in temperature of the oceans (at 2000 meters down) All of these observations can be correlated to an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations (as measured at Mauna Loa)
What is the Evidence of Climate Change and What Factors are Contributing?
Bloomberg Business recently published a nice interactive that discredits some of the factors that skeptics suggest may be contributing to climate change, such as output from the sun, volcanos and deforestation. The relationships are very nicely presented and easy to understand. This is a great resource for classroom discussions. Another great source of data on the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate change is NASA’s Global Climate Change website. The evidence of climate change section has links some useful inforgraphics on climate change, and the evidence that climate change is indeed already underway.
Videos and Infographics on the Science of Climate Change
Our video below explores how greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, warm the atmosphere and contribute to climate change and global warming.
What about El Niño? While El Niño is a natural event in the Pacific, and it not caused by global warming, many scientists agree that the severity of the El Niño events are increasing as the planet warms. Many discussions about climate change turn the developing El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean, so we have included this video below to help explain the relationship.
- Video: Are High Temperatures the New Norm? : Ricochet Creative Productions, 2013
- NASA Climate Change page – which contains information on current CO2 concentrations, sea level, etc
- Is the 2 degree world a fantasy? Nature (Nov 2015)
- Global heat data – WMO (Nov 2015)
- Mount Loa CO2 Data – Dr. Pieter Tans, NOAA/ESRL (www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/) and Dr. Ralph Keeling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/)
- NASA graphic Credit: Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.