President-elect Donald Trump does not believe that climate change is real, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that our planet is warming. As president, he wants to dismantle the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ramp up fossil-fuel production as a vehicle for job growth, and restart the Keystone XL oil pipeline process.
Trump’s stance on the environment contradicts thousands of scientists and decades of research, which has linked many observable changes in climate, including rising air and ocean temperatures, shrinking glaciers, and widespread melting of snow and ice, to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
The observed changes in climate have grave implications for the future of natural and human systems. Here are 16 signs of climate change that can’t be disputed.
Between 1990 and 2010, worldwide emissions of all major greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and several fluoridated gases -- increased.
Human activities contribute to the release of greenhouse gas emissions, largely through the burning of fossil fuels. Energy production and use, which includes fuels used by cars, are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Carbon dioxide is the most concerning greenhouse gas, partly because of the abundance and rate at which it is being released into the atmosphere. CO2 accounts for about three-fourths of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the largest contributions from Asia, Europe, and the United States.
Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher than they have been at any time in the past 400,000 years, which covers the last three glacial cycles.
CO2, more than any other greenhouse gas, has contributed the most to the warming of Earth's surface.
Earth's 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record-keeping began in 1880. The new 2015 record was higher than the previous record set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.13 Celsius.
Don't agree with these figures? Temperature data from four different science organisations produced similar conclusions: the 10 warmest years since modern record-keeping began in 1880 have all have occurred since 2000.
The ocean absorbs much of this heat. The average surface temperature of the world's oceans temperature rose at an average rate of 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit per decade from 1901 through 2015.
During the past three decades, sea surface temperature has been consistently higher than at any other time since observations began in 1880.
Sea levels rise as the ocean warms because warm water takes up more space. Since 1993, average sea level has risen roughly twice as fast as the long-term trend.
Sea levels also rise as ice sheets melt. In the summer of 2012, the floating cap of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was the smallest ever recorded in the satellite era, which began in 1979.
Land ice sheets are losing mass, too. Antarctica has been losing about 134 gigatonnes of ice per year since 2002, according to NASA. For perspective, 1 gigatonne of water (or 1 billion tons) is equal to 400,000 Olympic pools. That's over 53 million Olympic pools!
Greenland's ice sheet is shrinking even faster -- it has been losing an estimated 287 gigatonnes of ice per year since 2002. That's equal to more than 114 million Olympic pools.
Arctic ice cover is thinning, which means there are fewer patches of ice that survive one or more melt seasons. The proportion of September sea ice that is five years or older has declined from more than 30% in the 1980s to just 9% in 2015.
If charts and scientific data are not your thing, the anecdotal evidence is all around us. The retreat of Alaska's Muir Glacier is a classic example of how our climate is changing -- it's barely in the field of view in a 2004 photo that compares it with a 1941 photo.
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