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What is climate change acceleration?

Maine, the United States of America, and the planet are experiencing a 'great acceleration' in the changing climate. Temperatures have been rising more rapidly and the speed of sea level rise has increased. Biological diversity and ecosystem health across the world have also been deteriorating more rapidly. The newest models projecting the impacts of feedback loops suggest that even more drastic accelerations will occur in the future. The great acceleration and these more dire models highlight even more starkly the need for serious action in reducing our use of fossil fuels. Explore these resources to learn more about these terms and this phenomenon.


Explore more about the Great Acceleration: the coining of the term and the compilation of evidence for its existence.

Source: Will Steffen, Wendy Broadgate, Lisa Deutsch, Owen Gaffney and Cornelia Ludwig (2015) The trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration, The Anthropocene Review, Vol. 2(1) 81–98

Fossil fuel emissions from human activity are driving up Earth’s temperature—yet something else is at work. The warming has set in motion nature’s own feedback loops which are raising temperatures even higher. The urgent question is: Are we approaching a point of no return, leading to an uninhabitable Earth, or do we have the vision and will to slow, halt, and reverse them?

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January 14, 2021 — It’s official: 2020 ranks as the second-hottest year on record for the planet, knocking 2019 down to third hottest, according to an analysis by NOAA scientists."


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports (IPCC) prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential impacts and response options. In 2022, This report acknowledged for the first time the link between global warming and colonialism. “Vulnerability of ecosystems and people to climate change,” the international body wrote in its report, is “driven by patterns of intersecting socioeconomic development” and “historical and ongoing patterns of inequity such as colonialism.”

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The National Climate Assessment (NCA) assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century. 

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Show Your Stripes (from the University of Reading) This tool displays eye-catching temperature “stripes” from any country or U.S. state since 1895 (use the drop down menu). These stripes make it easy to see that warming is happening nearly everywhere and at an increasing pace. 


These stripes are visual representations of the change in temperature as measured in Maine from 1895-2020. The stripes turn from mainly blue (cooler) to mainly red (hotter) in more recent years. Each strip illustrates the average temperatures of each year.

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The Maine Climate Science Portal was envisioned and developed by Maine Climate Action Now. Content development, to date, has been a largely-volunteer effort. Click here to see a full list of contributors.

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Portal designed by Lights Out Art Consulting LLC

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