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Understanding Key Concepts of Climate Science and Their Application 

Understanding Key Concepts of Climate Science and Their Application
Understanding Key Concepts of Climate Science and Their Application

Stephen J. Vavrus

, Eric Obscherning

, and Jonathan A. Patz

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date: 23 June 2021

The scientific study of climate includes aspects of oceanography, biogeochemistry, atmospheric science, and physical geography. It utilizes records and observations from both the relatively recent past and from the more distant past. Climate scientists study climate patterns, such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. They also study climate changes occurring due to human activity, especially related to the burning of fossil fuels and agricultural activities. Climate models simulate interactive physical processes. Using models, climate scientists can project future climate and can downscale these models to estimate changes at the local level. This chapter also contains textboxes on projections of future climate change and on downscaling climate change projections, estimating exposures where people live. Additional textboxes address sea level rise, its scientific basis, trends, and coastal impacts, and the consequences of a rapidly warming Arctic.

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