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New data and new interactions

What the pursuit of ever-faster supercomputers has allowed in terms of predicting weather and climate is for other types of interaction to be taken into account. This includes chemical reactions. Chemistry is an extremely important consideration, because there are far more ways that the chemical by-products of human activity can affect climate and weather than just the CO2-related ‘greenhouse effect’. Most scientists now believe that the Earth is to some degree a self-regulating living planet and is kept in a state uniquely (in the solar system at least) suited to life by the presence of life itself. Life, along with other non-biological feedback mechanisms, keep Earth in a balanced state of being habitable, and nobody really knows what might happen if the balance is tipped too much. Life on Earth has dramatically impacted on the atmosphere and even the geology of the Earth at several times in its history. (See feedback mechanisms, below)