Climate change refers to the long-term, continuous shifting of temperatures and weather patterns on Earth. It is an evolution driven by human activities.
Our planet has seen many changes over the 4.5 billion years Earth has been around, orbiting the sun in its small stellar neighborhood. Humans have made a significant impact.
“Greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide are produced by burning fossil fuels (coal and oil) These gases, which are produced by industries such as agriculture, energy, and many others, have been given this name because they once were in The atmosphere of EarthThey trap heat against our planet, preventing its escape and creating a warming “greenhouse effect.”
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“Observations all over the world show that climate change is happening, and rigorous scientific investigation demonstrates that greenhouse gases emitted through human activities are responsible for it,” reads a statement from 18 scientific associations about climate change. NASA.
Humans began to produce more greenhouse gases with the advent of the industrial revolution. Technology improved over time and human activity began to accelerate climate change at an unprecedented pace by the middle of the 20th century.
Although this has been a hotly debated topic, it has been established that human activities are the main drivers of climate change. The good news is that, while climate change is a result of human activity, we can make changes to improve our chances of preventing it from happening again.
“Scientific evidence of warming of the climate system” According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
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The term “global warming”, which is commonly used to refer to climate change, is often used. It can be difficult to know the difference or if there is one.
Global warming is the long-term warming effect on Earth. Climate change refers to both the changes occurring on the planet, such as sea level rise, increasing natural catastrophes, shrinking glaciers and so forth.
In other words, although both terms are correct, climate change is a larger picture of what’s going on on Earth.
Climate change: Scientific evidence
Climate change was first discovered over 100 years ago. Scientists have continued to gather overwhelming evidence in support of its existence and progress in recent decades.
“There is consensus about climate change and human causes. Multiple studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals have shown that climate change is primarily caused by human activities over the past century.
Despite this, many still deny that it exists. Let’s look at some examples of studies that have contributed to our understanding of climate change, and then let’s explore some of the scientific evidence supporting our growing understanding.
*Note: This is just a sample of climate change research. Climate science encompasses many other studies and pieces “evidence”.
- As One study, published 2020This information was derived from data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. It shows that the Antarctic and Greenland have lost an average of 279 Billion tons of ice each year between 1993 and 2019. Antartica has lost approximately 148 Billion tons of ice each year.
- The Earth’s surface continues warming and the most recent global temperatures are the hottest in over 2,000 year. NASA.
- The IPCC climate report annually details how climate change has progressed in the past year and what can now be predicted based upon recent data. The IPCC report for 2022 The most recent findings are shown, including how climate change is affecting us faster than we thought.
- Some of the earliest scientific evidence supporting the greenhouse effect and how it works It was 1824 When Joseph Fourier calculated the Earth’s size, Distance from the SunIt should be colder than it actually is. This led to the conclusion, that our atmosphere acts as an insulation blanket for the planet.
- According to NASA, global sea level rises continue and rates of recent increases are “unprecedented over 2,500-plus years.”
Scientists continue to study and track climate change by observing its effects. We have seen its effects around the globe.
Climate change and its effects
We are not working to prevent climate change from happening in the future. The devastating, potentially deadly effects of climate changes are already being felt. These effects will get worse as climate changes progresses.
Climate change is a process that causes hotter temperatures as a result of greenhouse gasses encasing Earth and trapping heat on it.
Sea levels will continue rising. The ocean absorbs a lot more heat than the Earth. As a result, temperatures will rise as the ocean expands as it warms. Warming temperatures continue to melt ice sheet, further increasing these rising levels.
Rising sea levels are a threat to island and coastal communities. Another effect of climate change is the increase in storms. Storms will become more frequent and more severe as a result of climate change. Rising temperatures cause more water to evaporate and become precipitation. This can lead to extreme flooding. Additionally, the warming ocean will increase the intensity of cyclones and hurricanes.
Droughts will only get worse as storms get more severe. Due to rising temperatures, droughts around the world will increase, drying out drinking water sources and water for crops. Droughts may also lead to massive sand or dust storms.
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Human health will be affected by extreme weather events and other changes in the world.
“Climate Change is the greatest health threat facing humanity” According to the United Nations.
Climate change will continue to have a negative impact on human health.
With climate change, the world’s oceans will also absorb more carbon dioxide; this will make the oceans more acidic and, therefore, dangerous to marine life and coral reefs. Climate change has not only affected marine species, but also other wildlife.
“The world is losing species at a rate 1000 times faster than at any other point in recorded human history due to climate change,” According to the United Nations.
Climate change: Causes
It is true that Earth’s climate has fluctuated throughout its history.
NASA reports that our planet has seen seven cycles of glacial retreat and advancement in the past 650,000 years. This included the abrupt end of the last glacial ice age around 11,700 years ago. This is considered the beginning of “modern climate era” and human civilization. NASA added.
These changes in Earth’s climate throughout history can be explained largely by small shifts within our planet’s orbit, which have sometimes caused Earth to receive more (or less!) solar energy.
Natural fluctuations are not the reason we are currently in a “climate crises”. “Natural changes, such as the sun’s power and volcanic eruptions, also have an effect on the earth’s climate. They do not explain the warming we have seen over the past century. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
It is still the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is the primary cause of climate change and its consequences.
Scientists believe that human beings have existed on Earth as “modern homo sapiens” for at most 200,000 years. However, the Industrial Revolution was a period that lasted through 1840. It saw manufacturing systems use larger, more efficient machines and factories to produce large quantities. The use of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas increased as humans became more aware of their environmental impact.
“Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which has changed the earth’s climate,” According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Humankind has been expanding their industrial production since the dawning of the industrial age. Our ability to transport goods all over the world has also increased dramatically. While technology has advanced, fossil fuels remain the most commonly used energy source.
Below is a graph showing greenhouse gas emissions over the past 2,000 year with a noticeable spike at the beginning of the industrial era.
The economic sectors that contribute the most greenhouse gas emissions, as reported in 2020, are transportation followed by electricity, industry, commercial & residential and agriculture, According to a report of the EPA. (The report also added that additional emissions can be attributed to land use, forestry, and other activities.
The report shared further that the total global greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 was equivalent in quantity to 5,981 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
There are many greenhouse gases that humans can produce. The main culprits are carbon dioxide and methane. This can last.Methane can last between 300-1000 years in the atmosphere. While methane isn’t as long-lasting in our atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it has more heat than carbon dioxide by over 80 percent. According to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Climate from space
Although outer space is often discussed in terms of black holes, exoplanets, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, space is a valuable resource for studying Earth’s changing climate.
Satellites orbiting our planet can view it from outer space.
In 1960, NASA launched the Television Infrared Observation Satellite TIROS I, the world’s first meteorological satellite. There have been dozens upon thousands of Earth-monitoring satellites that have been launched to Earth orbit. There are over 80 missions currently in operation. This is in addition to the commercial Earth-orbiting satellites, which continue to increase as the commercial space industry booms.
It’s obvious that climate change is already having serious consequences for humans on Earth. Temperatures are rising as industry continues to emit greenhouse gases. What can we do to stop it?
One of the biggest misconceptions about climate change and its impact on our lives is that we cannot do anything about them. It is a very difficult global crisis and people are already working hard on solutions.
The Paris Agreement, also known by the Paris Climate Accords and the Paris Accords, is a significant milestone in the fight to combat climate change. This international treaty is on climate change that was adopted in 2015. It became effective as of November 4, 2016, and has been in force since then.
The agreement “aims substantially to reduce global greenhouse gas emission in an effort to limit Global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, while pursuing the means to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees,” According to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
This means that the nations signing the treaty agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to prevent temperatures from rising to a significant degree.
The United Nations also lists climate action as one of its priorities sustainable development goalsEven though climate change will have an additional impact on other SDGs of the UN, including health, clean energy, affordable and clean water, and hunger,
These international efforts were matched by an increased awareness and understanding about climate change around the world. This has led to increased interest in creative solutions to reduce the dangers of climate change and its devastating effects.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news and initiatives related to climate change Climate office at ESA. This article from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Calculate your carbon footprint using this environmental impact calculatorLearn how to reduce your impact.
- United Nations. Climate change: Causes & effects United Nations. Retrieved May 3, 20,22.
- National Academy of Sciences. (2020). Climate change: Evidence and causes: Update 2020. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, P. 5. doi: 10.17226/25733
- NASA. “Scientific Consensus: Earth’s Climate Is Warming.” Climate Change: Vital Signs of Planet, NASA, Jan. 8, 2019.
- IPCC (2013). Climate change 2013: The physical science baseEXITEXIT EPA WEBSITE. Working Group I contribution to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex & P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, p. 869.
- Tollefson, Jeff. “Climate Change Is Hitting the Planet Faster than Scientists Originally Thought.” Nature, Feb. 28, 2022.