Climate change refers to significant, global changes in such things as temperature, precipitation, snow and ice cover, and seasonal events. Climate change can result from natural factors, including changes in Earth’s orbit and the sun's intensity. It can also be caused by human activities that alter the atmosphere's composition and the land surface.
Over roughly the past 200 years, burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and other land use changes have led to significant increases in the concentrations of heat-trapping (greenhouse) gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (C4). These gases absorb heat radiating from Earth’s sun-warmed surface, and prevent it from escaping directly into space.
Since the mid-20th century, higher atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have led to an increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature. This global warming is a major driver of recent climate change. At EROS, we are working to better understand how biogeochemical cycles, ecological systems, and human activities contribute to, and are impacted by, climate change.