Climate Change: State of Knowledge Page: 1
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Climate Change: State ofKnowledge
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USGCRP Home - Archives -* 1990-1999 -* Climate Change: State of Knowledge
IUpdated 12 October, 2003.
Updated 12 October, 2003
I , A ..P . ,
[Note: A later (1997) updated version of this
report is available as PDF file and is available
in hardcopy from the GCRIO Online Catalog]
From the Environmental division, Office of
Science and Technology Policy, Executive
Office of the President, Washington, DC, March
The Earth's climate is predicted to change because
human activities are altering the chemical
composition of the atmosphere. The buildup of
greenhouse gases-primarily carbon dioxide,
methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons-is
changing the radiation balance of the planet. The
basic heat-trapping property of these greenhouse
gases is essentially undisputed. However, there is
considerable scientific uncertainty about exactly
how and when the Earth's climate will respond to
enhanced greenhouse gases. The direct effects of
climate change will include changes in temperature,
precipitation, soil moisture, and sea level. Such
changes could have adverse effects on ecological
systems, human health, and socio-economic
Human-induced climate change is a complex
problem, which can impact the economy and the
quality of life for this and future generations. The
lag time between emission of the gases and their
impact is on the order of decades to centuries; so
too is the time needed to reverse any effects. Thus,
policy decisions in the near term will have long-term
A natural greenhouse effect keeps the Earth 33
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Environmental division, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President. Climate Change: State of Knowledge, text, March 1995; Washington, DC. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc11852/m1/1/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .