Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Climate Change and Sustainability: Home

Welcome

Welcome to the Climate Change and Sustainability research guide! This guide will help you get started with finding resources on the topic of Climate Change and Sustainability. It includes links to key library subscription resources, including article databases, journals and books, as well as open web content.

Make sure to cycle through the tabs above to discover more about the topic.

 

Ask a Librarian - During Regular Library Hours 

  • In-person at the Library Reference Desk Bldg. 9, 3rd Floor  
  • Via Text to (650) 535-8398
  • Via email: canlibrary@smccd.edu
  • Via Chaton our website   

What is climate change? - BBC

What is climate change? A really simple guide - BBC

Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. Climate change is a shift in those average conditions.

The Earth is now in a period of rapid climate change, with global temperatures rising because of human activities, such as the burning of coal, oil and gas.

  • People: Climate change will transform the way people live, causing water shortages and making it harder to produce food. Some regions could become dangerously hot and others uninhabitable because of rising sea levels.
  • Environment: Polar ice and glaciers are melting fast, contributing to rising seas.  As permafrost - frozen ground - melts in Siberia and other regions, methane - another greenhouse gas - will be released into the atmosphere, worsening climate change.  The weather conditions needed for wildfires are becoming more likely and low-lying coastal areas are threatened with flooding by rising seas.
  • Nature: As their habitats change, some species will be able to move to new locations.  But climate change is happening so rapidly many are likely to become extinct.

 

Quoted from:
BBC. (2021, August 9). What is climate change? A really simple guide.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24021772

Climate Change - Britannica

Climate change

Climate change: periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.

Greenhouse gases
Greenhouse gases are [one of many things influencing global warming].  They are gas molecules that have the property of absorbing infrared radiation (net heat energy) emitted from Earth’s surface and reradiating it back to Earth’s surface, thus contributing to the phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor are the most important greenhouse gases, and they have a profound effect on the energy budget of the Earth system despite making up only a fraction of all atmospheric gases. Concentrations of greenhouse gases have varied substantially during Earth’s history, and these variations have driven substantial climate changes at a wide range of timescales. In general, greenhouse gas concentrations have been particularly high during warm periods and low during cold phases.

A number of processes influence greenhouse gas concentrations. Some, such as tectonic activities, operate at timescales of millions of years, whereas others, such as vegetation, soil, wetland, and ocean sources and sinks, operate at timescales of hundreds to thousands of years. Human activities—especially fossil-fuel combustion since the Industrial Revolution—are responsible for steady increases in atmospheric concentrations of various greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

 

Quoted from:
Jackson, S. T. (2021, April 27). climate changeEncyclopedia Britannica.
https://www.britannica.com/science/climate-change

The Causes of Climate Change - NASA

The Causes of Climate Change

Scientists attribute the global warming trend observed since the mid-20th century to the human expansion of the "greenhouse effect"1 — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.

Certain gases in the atmosphere block heat from escaping. Long-lived gases that remain semi-permanently in the atmosphere and do not respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are described as "forcing" climate change. Gases, such as water vapor, which respond physically or chemically to changes in temperature are seen as "feedbacks."

On Earth, human activities are changing the natural greenhouse. Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make CO2. To a lesser extent, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities has increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.

The consequences of changing the natural atmospheric greenhouse are difficult to predict, but some effects seem likely:

  • On average, Earth will become warmer. Some regions may welcome warmer temperatures, but others may not.
  • Warmer conditions will probably lead to more evaporation and precipitation overall, but individual regions will vary, some becoming wetter and others dryer.
  • A stronger greenhouse effect will warm the ocean and partially melt glaciers and ice sheets, increasing sea level. Ocean water also will expand if it warms, contributing further to sea level rise.
  • Outside of a greenhouse, higher atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can have both positive and negative effects on crop yields. Some laboratory experiments suggest that elevated CO2 levels can increase plant growth. However, other factors, such as changing temperatures, ozone, and water and nutrient constraints, may more than counteract anypotential increase in yield. If optimal temperature ranges for some crops are exceeded, earlier possible gains in yield may be reduced or reversed altogether.

Climate extremes, such as droughts, floods and extreme temperatures, can lead to crop losses and threaten the livelihoods of agricultural producers and the food security of communities worldwide. Depending on the crop and ecosystem, weeds, pests, and fungi can also thrive under warmer temperatures, wetter climates, and increased CO2 levels, and climate change will likely increase weeds and pests.

 

Quoted from:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (2021). The causes of climate change. 
https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/

The Last Time The Globe Warmed