Climate and the Effects of Global Climate Change

Free Response

Compare and contrast how natural- and human-induced processes have influenced global climate change.


Natural processes such as the Milankovitch cycles, variation in solar intensity, and volcanic eruptions can cause periodic, intermittent changes in global climate. Human activity, in the form of emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, has caused a progressive rise in the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Predict possible consequences if carbon emissions from fossil fuels continue to rise.


If carbon emissions continue to rise, the global temperature will continue to rise; thus, ocean waters will cause the rising of sea levels at the coastlines. Continued melting of glaciers and reduced spring and summer meltwaters may cause summertime water shortages. Changes in seasonal temperatures may alter lifecycles and interrupt breeding patterns in many species of plants and animals.