Today, 97 percent of American scientists agree that climate change is happening. According to a survey published in May 2011 by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, only 13 percent of Americans know of the near universality of this consensus.
The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication is one of many emerging efforts addressing the disconnect between climate science advancement and communication (see also Climate Central). These initiatives aim to strengthen public engagement with cutting-edge climate science by offering outlets of accessible and relevant climate science news.
The Maine Climate News Blog joins this effort by addressing fundamental concepts in climate change and discussing related recent findings. During the month of July, our theme will be Loops of Change: the Positive Feedback Loops that Drive Climate Change. We will explore a different positive feedback loop each week, gradually illustrating the extended web of Earth-Ocean-Atmosphere interactions that drive climate warming.
Stay tuned for next week’s installment, Sea-Ice Albedo: Earth’s Chilling Reflection, and for intervening updates on climate-related events in Maine!
Assistant Editor, Maine Climate News
Image Description: 'Climate Change in the American Mind' cover, image of earth
The Earth’s atmosphere is experiencing unprecedented changes that are modifying the global climate, with consequences for all regions and societies. Discussions have begun on how to reduce and eventually eliminate the rapid and accelerating additions of carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases, and other pollutants to the world’s atmosphere and oceans. These efforts are vitally important and urgent for Maine and the rest of the world.
This report considers past change over geologic time, recent evidence of accelerated rates of change, and the implications of continued climate change in Maine during the 21st century as a result of greenhouse gas emissions and their associated pollutants. Even if a coordinated response succeeds in eliminating excess greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century, something that appears highly unlikely today, climate change will continue because the elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) can persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years to come.
Image Description: Maine's Climate Future