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Since the mid-twentieth century, human-caused greenhouse gases have been the most dominant driver of observed climate change. The greenhouse effect describes how "greenhouse gases" trap heat at the Earth's surface. Greenhouse gases come from both natural and man-made sources. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, and water vapour are examples of greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect allows life to exist on Earth. Without it, the average temperature on Earth's surface would be roughly -19°C, rather than the current 14°C. However, increasing greenhouse gas levels, on the other hand, causes significant climate changes such as floods, droughts, and heat. As greenhouse gas emissions from human activities increase, they build up in the atmosphere and warm the climate, leading to many other changes around the world—in the atmosphere, on land, and in the oceans. As human-caused greenhouse gas emissions rise, they accumulate in the atmosphere and warm the climate, causing a slew of additional changes in the atmosphere, on land, and in the oceans. The majority of the focus has been on carbon dioxide emissions caused by fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation. Other greenhouse gases, such as methane from rice farming, cattle, landfills, and other sources, and chlorofluorocarbons from industrial sources, are also released as a result of human activity. Human cultures and communities have often been profoundly affected by climatic change. Abrupt climatic transitions are a major source of concern for society, as future adjustments may be so sudden and drastic that agricultural, ecological, industrial, and commercial systems will be unable to respond and adapt.
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