Climatic change : an overview Williams, R. J.
The theory of the "Greenhouse Effect" has been known for years and is not disputed by scientists. The fact that man, world wide, is discharging compounds into the atmosphere that may cause the atmosphere to warm is also well known. Presently there is insufficient evidence to state that these man made emissions are causing the global atmosphere to warm. However, recent General Circulation Models (GCMs) suggest that warming on the order of 2 to 5 ° C may occur in the next 50 to 100 years. The ramifications of such a warming are immense since a warming of this magnitude is greater than anything experienced in the last 100,000 years. But how certain are we that the models are close to correct? The GCMs are among the most complex physical models developed and they are known to be weak in several areas such as the way they incorporate the clouds and the oceans. The spatial resolution of these global models is poor, with grid squares the size of Colorado, and as a result, they are incapable of providing predictions at a regional scale. The ramifications of the climatic changes being forecast are so significant that they could change global economies and the social order. What is sustainable or is planted as part of a reclamation project today may not be successful 25 or 50 years from now. Therefore we must incorporate the possibility of climatic change into our planning to prepare for this uncertain future.
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