Climate change is one of the topics looked at in GCSE Geography. This is one of four quizzes on that subject and it looks at how we know that the Earth's climate has changed over the past 2 million years.
If you haven’t heard of climate change then you haven’t been listening in class, or to the news, or reading things on the internet, or reading things in general! I’m sure you’ll agree that there is a lot of information out there about climate change.
Depending on where your information comes from, you either hear that climate change is going to be catastrophic for the planet or that it’s a media conspiracy intended to cause a panic. However, science can use hard facts to examine the evidence of climate change. We can look at how things have changed over millions of years in the past to see if we can predict how the climate might be changing in the near future, and how that will impact us and our settlements and industry.
Before we can look at climate change we have to decide what actually is climate? The dictionary defines climate as 'the long term pattern of weather in a particular area'. We can examine things from millions of years ago but most syllabuses only expect you to know some of the changes over the past 2 million years. A geological time span known as the Quaternary Period.
During the Quaternary Period the climate has varied between times of glaciation, also known as ice ages, and interglaciations. The last ice age is generally considered to have ended between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago. Since then we have been going through one of the Earth’s warmest periods. The difficulty for scientists is to separate natural climate change, including global warming, from man-made impacts.