Climate Literacy


There is a great article on the Earth Forum about Climate Literacy.  The permanant link is here and an expanded version of the article (titled the Climate Literacy Handook) is here (in the Encyclopedia of Earth).  Ill exerpt some of the short version below.  Also check our the Coral Reefs collection at the EoE here.

This handbook presents the basic scientific concepts of climate science for non-technical audiences. It is an elaboration of Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences, a set of seven principles and their underlying fundamental concepts that developed by scientists and educators. This set of principles has been reviewed and endorsed by the  U.S. Climate Change Science Program. Commentary and online resources follow each principle, allowing further exploration of key climate literacy concepts. The handbook aims to promote greater climate science literacy by providing an educational framework around the Essential Principles of Climate Science.

A climate-literate person:

  • understands the essential principles of Earth’s climate system,
  • knows how to assess scientifically credible information about climate,
  • communicates about climate and climate change in a meaningful way, and
  • is able to make informed and responsible decisions with regard to actions that may affect climate

Why does climate science literacy Matter?

  • During the 20th century, Earth’s globally averaged surfacetemperature rose by approximately 1.08°F (0.6°C). Additional warming of more than 0.25°F (0.14°C) has been measured since 2000. Though the total increase may seem small, it likely represents an extraordinarily rapid rate of change compared to changes in the previous 10,000 years.
  • Over the 21st century, climate scientists expect Earth’s temperature to continue increasing, very likely more than it did during the 20th century. Two anticipated results are rising global sea level and increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves, droughts, and floods. These changes will affect almost every aspect of human society, including economic prosperity, human and environmental health, and national security.
  • Scientific observations and climate model results indicate that human activities are now the primary cause of most of the ongoing increase in Earth’s globally averaged surface temperature.

The Essential Principles of Climate Science Literacy

  1. Principle 1. The Sun is the primary source of energy for Earth’s climate system.
  2. Principle 2. Climate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system.
  3. Principle 3. Life on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate.
  4. Principle 4. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes.
  5. Principle 5. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling
  6. Principle 6. Human activities are impacting the climate system.
  7. Principle 7. Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives

PS-sorry for the absence.  I was working on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos-a truly stunning place.  There were already signs of the pending El Nino.  If you are interested, I blogged about the trip here.

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