November 04, 2006

Start Here

Filed under: Climate Science FAQ IPCC— group @ 4:43 pm

We've often been asked to provide a one stop link for resources that people can use to get up to speed on the issue of climate change, and so here is a first cut. Unlike our other postings, we'll amend this as we discover or are pointed to new resources. Different people have different needs and so we will group resources according to the level people start at.

For complete beginners:

NCAR: Weather and climate basics:

Oxford University: The basics of climate prediction:

Pew Center: Global Warming basics:

Wikipedia: Global Warming:

NASA: Global Warming update:

Those with some knowledge:

The IPCC AR4 Frequently Asked Questions (PDF: is an excellent start. That covers:

What Factors Determine Earth's Climate?
What is the Relationship between Climate Change and Weather?
What is the Greenhouse Effect?
How do Human Activities Contribute to Climate Change and How do They Compare with Natural Influences?
How are Temperatures on Earth Changing?
How is Precipitation Changing?
Has there been a Change in Extreme Events like Heat Waves, Droughts, Floods and Hurricanes?
Is the Amount of Snow and Ice on the Earth Decreasing?
Is Sea Level Rising?
What Caused the Ice Ages and Other Important Climate Changes Before the Industrial Era?
Is the Current Climate Change Unusual Compared to Earlier Changes in Earth's History?
Are the Increases in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gases During the Industrial Era Caused by Human Activities?
How Reliable Are the Models Used to Make Projections of Future Climate Change?
Can Individual Extreme Events be Explained by Greenhouse Warming?
Can the Warming of the 20th Century be Explained by Natural Variability?
Are Extreme Events, Like Heat Waves, Droughts or Floods, Expected to Change as the Earth's Climate Changes?
How Likely are Major or Abrupt Climate Changes, such as Loss of Ice Sheets or Changes in Global Ocean Circulation?
If Emissions of Greenhouse Gases are Reduced, How Quickly do Their Concentrations in the Atmosphere Decrease?
Do Projected Changes in Climate Vary from Region to Region?

We'll link to the individual pages once the report is available in html.

RealClimate: Start with our index:

Informed, but in need of more detail:

Science: You can't do better than the IPCC reports themselves
AR4 2007”,
TAR 2001:

History: Spencer Weart's "Discovery of Global Warming" (AIP)

Informed, but seeking serious discussion of common contrarian talking points:

All of the below links have indexed debunks of most of the common points of confusion:

Coby Beck's How to talk to Global Warming Skeptic:
New Scientist: Climate Change: A guide for the perplexed:
RealClimate: Response to common contrarian arguments:
NERC (UK): Climate change debate summary:
UK Met Office: Climate Change Myths:

Please feel free to suggest other suitable resources, particularly in different languages, and we'll try to keep this list up to date.