Climate Change And Global Warming

920 WordsSep 2, 20144 Pages
Climate change and global warming are terms often tossed around in common parlance by non-scientists in the western world as having a singular meaning: that the planet is warming up, that humans may (or may not) have caused it; that something must be done at once. Climate change is presented and discussed as a single phenomenon, disingenuous to its multifaceted nature. Complicated and sometimes seemingly random, climate change is both chaotic and complex, characterized by nonlinearity, feedback loops and emergent phenomena. Rind (1999) defines a complex system as one where there are “multiple interactions between many different components.” Earth’s climate is the same way: clouds, wind, precipitation, sunlight and geography—each affect climate, but each also affects the other, and so forth—interactions that form an intricate latticework of mutual dependency. As a web of interconnected parts, climate can be characterized by several factors. It is chaotic, in the sense that it is composed of simple systems that exhibit complex behaviour, but it is also complex, in the sense that entirety of the system is complicated, but demonstrates readily identifiable behaviours. A changing climate is readily observable. For example, one can surmise that sea levels will rise as ice caps melt. The relationship between melting ice caps and rising sea levels is intuitive, and thus emergent—the process by which it happens is inherently complex, yet out of complexity is born large observable

More about Climate Change And Global Warming

Open Document