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The Science

The Evidence and Impacts

The influence of global warming goes far beyond the global average rise in temperatures around the world.  While the effects of climate change will be felt by every person across the planet, it does not do so evenly.  While one region may be suffering from extended droughts another may be threatened by the coastal rise of ocean sea levels.  To get a better understanding of the science behind global warming and to understand how it may affect regions around the world, there are many valuable sources of information in books and web sites.

A great place to start is on the web site of the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) that includes a comprehensive report on climate change summarizing the scientific indicators used in measuring the impact on the US and around the world.  You may view a 27 page slide show or download and read the 80 page pdf document.  The indicators the EPA uses are as follows:

Greenhouse Gases

  • U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Atmospheric Concentrations of Greenhouse Gases
  • Climate Forcing

Weather and Climate

  • U.S. and Global Temperature
  • Heat Waves
  • Drought
  • U.S. and Global Precipitation
  • Heavy Precipitation
  • Tropical Cyclone Intensity


  • Ocean Heat
  • Sea Surface Temperature
  • Sea Level
  • Ocean Acidity

Snow and Ice

  • Arctic Sea Ice
  • Glaciers
  • Lake Ice
  • Snow Cover
  • Snowpack

Society and Ecosystems

  • Heat-Related Deaths
  • Length of Growing Season
  • Plant Hardiness Zones
  • Leaf and Bloom Dates
  • Bird Wintering Ranges

Astronomical Factors and Climate Change

Sheldon Schafer, the Vice President of Education at Lakeview Muesum, has been teaching a climate change course around central Illinois for several years.  With his background in astonomy, he is uniquely qualified to explain how astonomical cycles drive the climate on the earth and how those cycles cannot explain the unusual changes to the Earth’s climate today.  His course covers topics such as the Milankovitch Cycles (shape of the orbit, tilt of the axis, and precession), sunspots, magnetic storms, total solar irradiance, and cosmic rays.  For millions of years, these astonomical factors have been driving changes in the Earth’s climate, but now there are anthroprogenic factors driving climate change such as greenhouse gases and aerosols.  Stay tuned to our web site for dates of future classes.  For now, you may view a pdf version of Mr. Schafer’s powerpoint by clicking the link below.

Astronomical Factors and Climate Change Presentation

Skeptical Science

In today’s political climate, global warming has become a very polarized issue and has hampered efforts to pass a meaningful climate change bill.  Despite the fact that scientists agree that climate change is real and is largely caused by humans, that debate is still going on in media reports.  Any understanding of climate change must include scientific evidence.  The web site does a great job of presenting a scientific rebuttal to what the naysayers are saying.

Educate yourself

Keeping up with the science behind global warming is a fluid process.  Scientific reports continue to present more evidence that not only adds to the original consensus but often shows that it is happening faster than has been predicted.  To stay abreast of the latest news, here are some recommended sources in alphabetical order for more information:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Roger A. Wehage permalink
    September 19, 2010 10:12 PM

    Excellent! Here in one place are links to all the information I’ve been searching for. I was fortunate to have found this webpage by accident. How can it become more visible to people across the country and the planet?

  2. September 20, 2010 1:03 AM

    If you are here in central Illinois, you should come to our next meeting on October 7th at 6:30 PM at Lakeview Library. We are always looking for new voices and new perspectives, and meetings are open to the public. If you have any direct questions, feel free to contact me at Thanks for the comments!

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