The climate system is the largest and most important Earth system
It is contained within the whole Earth system and it contains most Earth systems.
The survival of all species depends on climate.
A simple picture of the climate system, which practically involves the entire planet. The World Ocean and the Cryosphere are most important components of the Climate System barely included in current global climate change assessments. The many interactions between the components cannot be captured by climate change models.
1990 IPCC gobal climate change impacts illustration showing the great range of climate change impacts- the entire planet and most important agriculture and water availability. Food production and linked deforestation as a major source of GHGases has been added.
The complexities and interconnections of the big climate picture and climate change (UNEP 2001)
The 2007 UNEP GEO comprehensive global environmental assessment concluded that global climate change on top of the other ongoing global environmental degradations threatens the very survival of humanity.
click to UNEP GEO site
The IPCC (above) acknowledges climate change must be assessed by integration, but its structure does not accomodate it. It assesses impacts caused directly by climate change in isolation.
For example when the IPCC says 30% of species face extinction by 2100 from climate change, that means 50% when added to ongoing direct habitat destruction.
The International Geosphere Biosphere Project is the project to develop a whole Earth science picture, but says there is a long way to go.
Extinction events. The big picture of the distant past is massive extinction events of all life linked to global climate change.