Trump's stance on the environment contradicts thousands of scientists and decades of research, which has linked many observable changes in climate, including rising air and ocean temperatures, shrinking glaciers, and widespread melting of snow and ice, to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
The observed changes in climate have grave implications for the future of natural and human systems. Here are 16 signs of climate change that can't be disputed.
Between 1990 and 2010, worldwide emissions of all major greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and several fluorinated gases — increased.
Human activities contribute to the release of greenhouse gas emissions, largely through the burning of fossil fuels. Energy production and use, which includes fuels used by cars, are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Carbon dioxide is the most concerning greenhouse gas, partly because of the abundance and rate at which it is being released into the atmosphere. CO2 accounts for about three-fourths of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the largest contributions from Asia, Europe, and the United States.
Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than they have been at any time in the past 400,000 years, which covers the last three glacial cycles.
In 2013, CO2 levels in the air surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm), the highest in human history.
Sea levels rise as the ocean warms because warm water takes up more space. Since 1993, average sea level has risen roughly twice as fast as the long-term trend.
Sea levels also rise as ice sheets melt. In the summer of 2012, the floating cap of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was the smallest ever recorded in the satellite era, which began in 1979.
Land ice sheets are losing mass, too. Antarctica has been losing about 134 gigatonnes of ice per year since 2002, according to NASA. For perspective, 1 gigatonne of water (or 1 billion tons) is equal to 400,000 Olympic pools. That's over 53 million Olympic pools!
Source: NASA; Washington Post
Greenland's ice sheet is shrinking even faster — it has been losing an estimated 287 gigatonnes of ice per year since 2002. That's equal to more than 114 million Olympic pools.
If charts and scientific data are not your thing, the anecdotal evidence is all around us. The retreat of Alaska's Muir Glacier is a classic example of how our climate is changing — it's barely in the field of view in a 2004 photo that compares it with a 1941 photo.
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