Reading: Can People Change Climate?

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A reading by Spencer Weart, the American Institute of Physics (AIP) titled ‘Biosphere: How Life Alters Climate’. This reading is part of an online book titled ‘The Discovery of Global Warming’. This resource can be used as an introduction to the topic by teachers interested in teaching about climate and the biosphere. The reading discusses the history of the evolution of our understanding of climate change with respect to life on Earth. It includes the following topics: 

  1. Carbon dioxide and the Biosphere (1938-1950s)
  2. Can People Change Climate?
  3. Where does the Carbon Go? (1971-1980s)
  4. Methane (1979-1980s)
  5. Gaia (1972-1980s)
  6. Global Warming Feedbacks

Students will learn about climate and the biosphere and the impacts of climate change on the biosphere. They will also learn about the natural and human-induced causes of climate change. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. How does climate change impact the biosphere?
  2. How do natural ecosystems contribute to climate change?
  3. What is the role of the biosphere in determining the climate of planet Earth?

About the Tool 

Tool NameBiosphere: How Life Alters Climate
DisciplineEarth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineClimate Change Overview, Biosphere, Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Global Warming Feedbacks, Gaia Hypothesis
Climate Topic Climate and the Biosphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
Developed bySpencer Weart
Hosted atThe American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Computer SkillsBasic
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