Ten climate change Frequently Asked Questions, answered by
EARTH: The Operators’ Manual program host, Richard Alley.
Many of the scientific terms used here are defined in the Glossary.

Global Warming & Ice Sheets 

RiCHARD ALLEY  Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University 

The United States National Academy of Sciences, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC), and numerous leading professional societies such as the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Board of Directors have confirmed the strong scientific evidence that:

 → human activities (especially the burning of fossil fuels) are changing the
     composition of the atmosphere;

→ this is contributing to warming and other climate changes;

→ the changes so far are small compared to those expected under business as usual;

impacts of the climate changes on economies and ecosystems will be significant; and 

options exist to avoid or slow down the changes (mitigation), and to reduce the harm  
    and take advantage of the opportunities from the changes that occur (adaptation).   

Here, in question-and-answer format, is a synopsis of some of the relevant science, with special attention to ice sheets.

*Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pennsylvania State University, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Research Council, or other organizations.


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