USGS - science for a changing world

Fact Sheet 2007-3108

Facing Tomorrow's Challenges: USGS Science in the Decade 2007-2017

Climate Variability and Change

Picture of first page of the fact sheet.

PDF (552 KB, 2 pages)

Climate influences every aspect of life on Earth, affecting human health and well-being, water and energy resources, agriculture, forests and natural land-scapes, air quality, and sea levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report of 2007 summarizes overwhelming evidence that global warming, due to human activities since 1750, is unequivocal. In addition to increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, observations find widespread melting of snow and ice; rising sea levels; wide-spread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, and wind patterns; and increasing occurrences of extreme weather, including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves, and intensity of tropical cyclones. Objective and interdisciplinary science is needed to understand more clearly the complexity of global climate issues. The science will play an essential role during the next decade in helping communities and land and resource managers understand local and regional implications, anticipate effects, prepare for changes, and reduce the risks of decisionmaking in a changing climate.


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