Climate Change

The whole world is in a huddle to discuss the global climate situation and its impact on the environment and our life. Climate change is not a new phenomenon and there is historical evidence about major climate changes and their aftermath. Climate change is a natural phenomenon and will continue to occur.

Let’s understand what climate is. The prevailing weather conditions of a region, such as, temperature, humidity, precipitation, air pressure, sunshine, cloudiness and types of wind averaged over a period of few years contributes to a region’s climate. Weather is the short-term condition of all the mentioned conditions.

A region’s climate system has five components-

Lithosphere &

The history of climate change can be predicted through Paleoclimatology. Studying the sediments in rocks, tree rings, corals, microfossils, ice sheets, helps determine the state of Earth’s earlier climatic conditions and atmospheric system and their impact on the biodiversity of a region.

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According to research the Earth’s temperature has risen by 1.4° F (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the past century and projected to rise by 2- 11.5° F (1.133 to 6.42 degrees C) over the next hundred years. The rise in global temperatures is accompanied by changes in weather. Due to this we can see the changes in rainfall (less or more amount) which are either causing floods or droughts and there is an increase in heat waves.

The glaciers and oceans are going through a rapid transformation and are experiencing more warming, becoming acidic; ice caps are melting, resulting in the rise of sea levels. These changes are continuous and although we may not see an immediate impact, they will become more pronounced in coming decades and pose a major challenge to our society and the environment.

Melting Glacier
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What is Global Warming?
Global warming occurs due to the greenhouse effect, caused by the interaction between the Earth’s atmosphere and radiation from the Sun. Energy in the form of heat passes through the Earth’s atmosphere warms it.
Some of the heat is absorbed by atmospheric gases in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapor, methane nitrous oxide, ozone, and halocarbons. CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and other gases are known as greenhouse gases. You can learn more about CO2 emissions here.

The amount of naturally produced CO2 is balanced by the amount that is naturally removed. If there is an imbalance in this, caused by human activities can cause a major impact on the Earth’s climate.

We are experiencing an increase in atmospheric CO2 levels by more than 40% since the beginning of Industrial Revolution (from about 280 parts per million (ppm) in the 1800s to 400 ppm) today. Last time the Earth’s atmospheric levels of CO2 reached 400 ppm was during the Pliocene Epoch (5 million and 3 million years ago). The greenhouse effect combined with the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will result in rapid global warming and have major implications on the Earth’s climate.

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Effects of Climate Change
‘Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.’ – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change )

No one can deny the effects of climate change and there is a growing concern among nations, to counter or reduce the greenhouse effect to arrest the rapid damages. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
which includes more than 1300 scientists from the US and other countries forecast a significant rise in Earth’s temperature over the next century.

You can travel through the Earth’s climate history and see the effect of rising CO2 levels and its impact on global temperature and sea ice here.

Climate change is transforming life on Earth. Across the globe we can see a major shift in seasons and temperature are increasing rapidly, with frequent occurrence of heat waves, droughts, extinction of flora and fauna and animal species, stronger storms and cyclones all resulting in huge economic losses.

Some of the impacts of climate change are-

  • Erratic and extreme weather
  • Alteration of ecosystem and habitat
  • Increasing risks to human health and society

The shift in water patterns and natural habitats makes many places inhabitable for some species and there is imminent risk of a collapsed ecosystem. Human life is also affected, with farming becoming a challenge due to the erratic climate conditions and farmers stare at huge losses due to crop failure. Due to the rising ocean levels and higher acidification, fishing industries are facing a challenge. Our health is also affected due to this climate change and puts pressure on our health infrastructure and economy.

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