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Could we control our climate?
Could we control our climate?

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6 Session 1 summary

Climate engineering, also known as ‘geoengineering’, is deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract human-caused climate change. This may be done by altering the Earth’s energy budget, either reducing the energy in or increasing the energy out.

Climate is sometimes referred to as ‘average weather’, but it is more useful to include the full range of weather – the extremes, and everything in between. One possible definition of climate is ‘a distribution of weather’, where ‘distribution’ can mean measured frequencies from the past or uncertain predictions about the future.

The more data you have, the better you can estimate the shape of this distribution. The World Meteorological Organization recommends using at least 30 years. The fact that climate is a distribution leads to difficulties in measuring, understanding and predicting climate change, and in communicating and using the predictions. It also makes it difficult to predict and measure the effects of any future potential geoengineering.

In the next session you will tackle the question: how has Earth’s climate changed in the recent past? Get started with Session 2 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .