Vik Farm

Global Climate Heating

Average Global Temperature 1850 - 2018

Each line represents the relative change of the yearly average global temperature from 1850 to 2018.

Department of Atmospheric Sciences of Texas A&M University

Faculty Statement on Climate Change

The faculty of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences of Texas A&M University has extensive knowledge about the Earth’s climate. As employees of a state university, it is our responsibility to offer our expertise on scientific issues that are important to the citizens of Texas, including whether and why the climate is changing.

We all agree with the following three conclusions based on current evidence:

  1. The Earth’s climate is warming, meaning that the temperatures of the lower atmosphere and ocean have been increasing over many decades. Average global surface air temperatures warmed by about 1.5° between 1880 and 2012.
  2. It is extremely likely that humans are responsible for more than half of the global warming between 1951 and 2012.
  3. Under so-called “business-as-usual” emissions scenarios, additional global-average warming (relative to a 1986-2005 baseline) would likely be 2.5-7°F by the end of this century.

Continued rising temperatures risk serious challenges for human society and ecosystems. It is difficult to quantify such risks, except to say that the potential magnitude of impacts rises rapidly as temperatures approach the high end of the range quoted above.

This statement was unanimously adopted by the faculty on Nov. 14, 2014 and unanimously reaffirmed on Nov. 4, 2019. It is in effect until Jan. 1, 2022 or until revised.

Permian Mass Extinction

Approximately 250 million years ago, the global mass extinction known as the "Great Dying" occurred. Ninety-six per cent of the earth's species went extinct.  This catastrophe at the end of the Permian geologic period was due to the earth's temperature rising about 10 degrees Celsius (18 deg F), over a period of a few hundred years.  The temperature rise was caused by an increase in the level of atmospheric CO2, creating a massive greenhouse effect.  Most likely this was due to volcanic activity burning through subsurface coal beds, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, raising the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans to the point where neither could sustain life.

We are not on a path for an extinction of quite this level, at least not yet, but we are on course for a temperature rise of 2.5 - 3.0 deg C just by the end of this century.  More evidence is pointing towards the fact that we may indeed be heading in this direction.  Few countries have met their carbon reduction targets thus far, and to avoid catastrophe we must reduce carbon emissions even more than our previous unmet promises.

We have seen a 30% decrease in the number of birds in this country since 1970.  Europe has seen a similar decrease in the number of insects.  The long term consequences of this is unknown, and may not be knowable until it is too late to do anything about it.

The 'Great Dying': Rapid Warming Caused Largest Extinction Event Ever, Report Says  --  The Guardian Newspaper

Cut global emissions by 7.6 percent every year for next decade to meet 1.5°C Paris target - UN report