Climate changes. It always has and always will. What is unique in modern times is that human activities are now a significant factor causing climate to change. This is evident in the recent rise in key greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere, and in the recent increase in global temperatures in the lower atmosphere and in the surface ocean.

The evidence presented in this report clearly illustrates that climate in New England is also changing. Over the past 100 years, and especially the last 30 years, all of the climate change indicators for the region reveal a warming trend. While at this point we cannot prove conclusively that this regional warming is due to human actions, the warming is fully consistent with what we would expect from global warming caused by increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.

There is no question that human induced climate change is a phenomenon that humans will have to deal with in the coming decades. The good news is that, because we are the primary source of pollution that is likely causing our atmosphere and oceans to warm, we can also do something about it by changing specific policies and behaviors.

It is our hope that by presenting this information in a succinct format, more people will understand the nature and scope of the problem and, therefore, be willing to make the changes necessary to address the significant societal challenge posed by climate change.


Earth Systems Research Center, Sustainability Institute

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