Kevin E. Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO
An update on climate change: Global warming coming ready or not!
Argonne Physics Division Colloquium - 4 Dec 2009

Global warming is unequivocally happening, according to the IPCC, and is caused by human activities, mostly the burning of fossil fuels. The evidence is now widespread from many variables. Climate models forced with observed changes in atmospheric composition show that the human influence on climate has exceeded the natural variability since about 1970, and the ability to simulate the changes provides confidence in future projections. The long lifetime of carbon dioxide and the energy infrastructure guarantee future increases in emissions for several decades and thus substantial further global warming. Efforts to control emissions are important and promising but unlikely to make adequate inroads to slow the problem unless there is a major change in attitudes and the political will to implement changes. Consequently, adaptation to the coming changes must occur and the question is how much of the climate change impact will lead to loss of life and strife and how much will be planned and managed?

Argonne Physics Division Colloquium Schedule