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The science of climate change

Last updated: 7/12/16

The science of climate change

Global warming is causing our climate to change. Learn how it will affect the world around us.


Gases in the atmosphere absorb energy from the sunlight-warmed surface of the Earth. These gases include:

  • carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • nitrous oxide, and
  • ozone.

When these gases can’t escape into space, they create the "Greenhouse Effect." The greenhouse gases in the air keep the Earth a warm and comfortable place to live. Unfortunately, human activities raise the concentration of these gases.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found proof that our planet is getting warmer. The biggest temperature increases happened in the 20th-century. The rise in temperatures is due to an increase in greenhouse gases.


Global warming is changing climate and weather patterns across the Earth. Most places, including New England, are getting warmer. The time seasons begin — from the first blooms of spring to the first frost of winter — is also shifting.

These and other changes affect:

  • Extreme weather, pollution, and water shortages lead to diseases.
  • Higher sea levels hurt coastal communities around the world.
  • Changes in rainfall, flooding, and droughts affect drinking water.
  • Climate change hurts ecosystems, taking away benefits to human life.
  • Temperature and rainfall changes increase pests and crop disease.

As the amount of Greenhouse gases increases, so too will the rate of climate change. We create greenhouse gases through traveling and using energy to heat, cool, and light our communities.

We can still solve our climate issues, but it's time to change the way we think. We need to be part of the solution, and take action to slow down climate change.

Still have questions? Contact:
1 City Hall Square
Room 709
Boston, MA 02201-2031
United States