Few worldwide developments have sparked as much debate as climate change and global warming. According to numerous lines of scientific data, the Earth’s climate is changing.

Atmospheric variables such as the sun’s radiation or variations in the Earth’s orbit have caused many shifts in cooling and warming. Still, the trend scientists have observed over the last 50 years is undeniable.

The Global Climate Indicators are criteria for describing climate change beyond temperature.

They provide critical data on the most vital aspects of climate change, including temperature and energy, atmospheric composition, ocean and water, and the cryosphere.

How can we be sure our climate is changing permanently rather than just passing through a phase of flux? The answer could be learning the facts without being influenced by climate doubters’ ideas or the fossil fuel industry’s disinformation operations.

To help clear the air, we’ll look at eleven crucial changes in our climate system that experts have seen. Each indicator listed below has been investigated extensively over decades and derived from various data sets and technologies.

Table of Contents

1. Rise of surface land temperature

air temperature - climate change indicators
Global air temperature rise (source)

The weather is changing, as we all know. Record high temperatures are set locally and globally month after month, year after year.

On the other hand, temperatures are only one of many indications of global warming. Warmer temperatures bring a slew of changes, all of which hint at a planet in flux.

Weather stations on land reveal that average air temperatures are rising, increasing the frequency and severity of droughts and heatwaves.

Water shortages can cause devastating wildfires, failed crops, and insufficient water supplies, all of which are wreaking havoc in the southern United States and worldwide.

2. Arctic sea ice melt

According to satellite images taken from orbit, the Arctic area covered by sea ice has diminished for the past 30 years.

The Arctic ice sheet expands in the winter with less sunshine and declines in the summer when the days are longer, reaching its nadir in September.

According to some studies, the Arctic might lose nearly all of its summer ice cover by 2100, but others fear it could melt much sooner – in just a few decades.

Each September, the Arctic sea ice reaches its lowest point. September In comparison to the 1981 to 2010 average, Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13% per decade.

Each Arctic winter, the ice cover expands again, although the ice is thinner than it once was. According to past sea ice extent estimates, this decline may be unparalleled in the last 1,450 years.

Because sea ice is highly reflective, warming increases when the darker underlying ocean surface absorbs the ice melts and more sunlight.

3. Melting ice caps

Glacier melt. Copyright: CNN

One of the most obvious symptoms of climate change is the retreat of glaciers. Water shortages affect those who rely on melting glacier water, and the issue is only getting worse in many places.

According to the study, over 270 billion tonnes of ice per year is lost over the first two decades of the twenty-first century.

Glacier mass remains balanced in a world without climate change, meaning that the ice that evaporates in the summer is fully restored by snowfall in the winter.

On the other hand, the glacier loses bulk when more ice melts than is restored. People who rely on melting ice for water for their agricultural and daily necessities are particularly vulnerable.

4. Sea levels rise

The sea level will continue to increase as global temperatures rise. It will climb mainly determined by future carbon dioxide emissions and global warming rates.

The pace of melting glaciers and ice sheets will determine how quickly it rises. The major contributors to sea-level rise are ice melts and glacier retreats around the globe.

5. Ocean heating

Ocean heating - climate change indicators
Ocean surface temperatures (source)

The heat emitted from the Earth’s surface is not going into space as freely as it formerly did due to rising levels of greenhouse gases.

The ocean grasps the majority of the extra heat in the atmosphere. As a result, the upper ocean heat content has increased dramatically in recent decades. Warmer ocean waters impact areas such as regional temperatures and marine life.

We know that significant changes occur when short-term, natural climatic trends like El Nio coincide as oceans become warmer and warmer.

Higher sea levels, melting glaciers, and stress on marine ecosystems are consequences of rising heat content.

6. Sea surface temperature increase

Water temperatures at the ocean’s surface are rising, according to measurements. This growth is a typical trend: the ocean surface heats as it absorbs sunlight.

Some of the ocean’s heat is then released into the atmosphere, resulting in wind and rain clouds. As water heats, its volume expands, causing sea levels to rise. Glaciers and continental ice caps melt due to climate change, adding water to the ocean and accelerating sea-level rise.

However, when the temperature of the ocean’s surface rises, more and more heat is discharged into the atmosphere. Some of the ocean’s heat is then released into the atmosphere, resulting in wind and rain clouds.

7. Decreasing snow

Snow - climate change indicators
Depleting snow of Cascade glacier, 1995(L) and 2004(R) (source)

Snow-covered areas in the Northern Hemisphere are shrinking, according to satellite data. Snow is vital because it regulates how much energy the Earth collects from the sun.

Snow and ice that are light in hue reflect this energy into space, helping to keep the planet cool. As the snow and ice melt, however, dark land and water replace them, both of which absorb energy.

Many scientists thought that the quantity of snow and ice loss in the last 30 years would be more extensive, indicating that the Earth is absorbing more solar energy than expected.

Millions of people in the western USA, where snowmelt provides 75 percent of the water supply, rely on snowmelt to deliver water in the spring. Snow is also used for winter sports in several locations.

Snowfall amounts and timing could impact fish spawning in the spring and the amount of water available for people to use in the spring and summer.

Changes in snowfall could affect winter recreation activities such as skiing and the towns that rely on them.

8. Increase in lower atmospheric temperature

We’re most familiar with the troposphere, or the lowest layer of the atmosphere; it’s where we live and where our weather occurs.

Satellite observations show that greenhouse gases build up and trap heat radiated from the Earth’s surface, the lowest layer of the atmosphere.

According to scientists, human activity, specifically the combustion of fossil fuels, is to blame for global temperatures.

Carbon dioxide levels have risen by roughly 40% since the Industrial Revolution began in 1750. And unless we act quickly to reverse this trend, these levels – and temperatures – are expected to rise even farther.

9. Humidity increase

You’re probably aware that humidity is a huge concern, especially in Minnesota’s lake-filled Great North. But what is humidity, exactly?

What role does moisture play in this? Why does it feel hotter on some days and cooler on others than usual? Is it genuinely proceeding to have an impact on our health?

Higher humidity implies more water vapor in the air in hot weather, making it stickier. Water vapor adds to the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and is essential to the water cycle.

Air conditioners must work significantly more challenging to keep us cool when the amount of water vapor in the air rises. As a result, there will be greater energy use, contributing to increased climate change.

10. Increase in Over-ocean Air temperature

Oceans span over 70% of the globe, so it’s easy to see how hotter air passing over them may significantly impact climate.

As the air at the ocean’s surface warms, it evaporates more water. What will be the result? More floods, hurricanes, and extreme precipitation events are expected.

11. Floods and drought

The drought of California. Copyright: Lauren Rodriguez Kritzer

Floods and droughts, two of the most destructive repercussions of the climate catastrophe, have impacted 3 billion people over the last two decades, resulting in unprecedented human misery and economic loss.

As more water evaporates from the ground and global weather patterns shift, rising global temperatures increase the amount of moisture the sky can contain, resulting in storms, heavy rains, and more intense dry spells.

Droughts and floods could worsen and last longer due to these changes in the hydrological cycle, bringing these risks to sections of the world that haven’t seen them in recent memory.


After seeing these eleven climate change indicators, it’s tough to argue against what’s happening. That is why it is up to every one of us to do our part and help communicate accurate climate change information to our networks of friends, peers, and family members.

(Last Updated on November 25, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Rishu Shakya, a bachelor’s degree graduate in Business Information Management, holds an extraordinary empathy towards mother nature and her ecosystem. She has always been captivated by green Earth and its charm. She regards spreading awareness about clean energy and sustainable development as her passion as well as responsibility. She believes her compassion about the Earth and human relationships will undoubtedly assist our planet to be a better place.