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Climate Change

Earth's climate
The Earth's climate has been changing due to variation in sunlight, Earth's orbital changes, volcanic activity, etc. However, their effects have been overshadowed by that of the increasing atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. The recent human-induced climate change has become a major challenge of our time.
  • A warming world <br>(Source: IPCC AR5)A warming world
    (Source: IPCC AR5)
  • Climate Change - Clear and Present Danger <br>(Source: Pixabay)Climate Change - Clear and Present Danger
    (Source: Pixabay)
  • Muir Glacier retreating<br>(Source: NASA)Muir Glacier retreating
    (Source: NASA)
  • Decreased Arctic sea ice is impacting polar bear <br>(Source: Pixabay)Decreased Arctic sea ice is impacting polar bear
    (Source: Pixabay)
  • Storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 <br>(Source: Mark C. Olsen, US Air Force)Storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012
    (Source: Mark C. Olsen, US Air Force)

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal

Almost every corner of the globe has experienced a warming trend during 1901-2012. Global warming has led to widespread melting of snow and ice, rise in mean sea level and changes in frequency of extreme weather events.

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  • Record-breaking temperature in June 2015Record-breaking temperature in June 2015
  • More frequent extreme heat<br>(Source: CWOS)More frequent extreme heat
    (Source: CWOS)
  • More frequent extreme rainfall<br>(Source: CWOS)More frequent extreme rainfall
    (Source: CWOS)

Hong Kong is not immune to climate change

Against the backdrop of global warming, the warming trend in Hong Kong has been exacerbated by local urbanization. Over the last hundred years, extremely hot days and extreme precipitation have become more frequent, while extremely cold days have become rarer.

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  • Fossil fuel burning<br>(Source: Pixabay)Fossil fuel burning
    (Source: Pixabay)
  • Unprecedented CO<sub>2</sub> concentration<br>(Source: WMO)Unprecedented CO2 concentration
    (Source: WMO)
  • Greenhouse effectGreenhouse effect

Human activity is the culprit

Burning of fossil fuels and deforestation have led to significant increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases which trap extra heat on Earth. The present-day concentration of carbon dioxide is unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.

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  • 4 °C rise for business as usual<br>(Source: IPCC AR5)4 °C rise for business as usual
    (Source: IPCC AR5)
  • Maldives threatened by sea level rise<br>(Source: Shahee llyas)Maldives threatened by sea level rise
    (Source: Shahee llyas)
  • Global mean sea level rise<br>(Source: IPCC AR5)Global mean sea level rise
    (Source: IPCC AR5)
  • More extreme precipitation <br>(Source: IPCC AR5)More extreme precipitation
    (Source: IPCC AR5)
  • Heavy rain in Shenzhen<br>(Source: weibo.com/szmb)Heavy rain in Shenzhen
    (Source: weibo.com/szmb)

What if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase?

Globally, there will be more hot extremes as global mean temperature continues to increase. Dry regions will get drier, wet regions will get wetter. Meanwhile, global mean sea level will continue to rise, increasing the threat of storm surge and the risk of coastal inundation.


For further information on this webpage, please contact Mr. F C Sham (tel:2926 3102, email:fcsham@hko.gov.hk)
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