A complex network of changes

In outlining the character of the likely climate change in different regions of the world, the last chapter showed that it is likely to vary a great deal from place to place. For instance, in some regions precipitation will increase, in other regions it will decrease. Not only is there a large amount of variability in the character of the likely change, there is also variability in the sensitivity (for definition see box below) of different systems to climate change. Different ecosystems, for instance, will respond very differently to changes in temperature or precipitation.

There will be a few impacts of the likely climate change that will be positive so far as humans are concerned. For instance, in parts of Siberia, Scandinavia or northern Canada increased temperature will tend to lengthen the growing season with the possibility in these regions of growing a greater variety of crops. Also, in winter there will be lower mortality and heating requirements. Further, in some places, increased carbon dioxide will aid the growth of some types of plants leading to increased crop yields.

However, because, over centuries, human communities have adapted their lives and activities to the present climate, most changes in climate will tend to produce an adverse impact. If the changes occur rapidly, quick and possibly costly adaptation to a new climate will be required by the affected

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