Why is the climate changing?
So many people confuse the phenomenon of global warming and climate change; in many discussions, these two phrases are used interchangeably, but they are not the same. However, global warming can bring about climate change. So, what then is climate change?
Climate change, in its simplest terms, can be referred to as the expected weather condition at a given location over an extended period (National Research Council of the National Academies). This is like saying, you know that certain locations are usually hot or cold during certain times so, that’s their climate. Climate change is, therefore, refers to the change in the Climatic condition of a certain area or a geographical location over an extended period; it could be years, decades or even centuries (National Research Council of the National Academies).
Climate change has always been a part of the natural process of nature. The earth’s climate is always changing, but it has always been progressively slow, and it could take decades or centuries to notice a major shift in the earth’s climate. The major climate change that occurred before the modern climate era happened about 7,000 years ago; this marked the end of the last ice age and the beginning of human civilization. This kind of climate change used to be caused by a small change in the way the Earth orbit’s around the sun. However, the current warming of the earth which is causing a great shift in the earth’s climate is attributed to a probability of 95% to be a result of human activities. Evidence shows that we are warming up the planet 10 times faster than it normally would after an ice age.
Scientists have found evidence to show that the activities of humans are causing the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is the warming of the planet as a result of the atmosphere trapping heat that radiates from earth towards space, and therefore, warming up the earth. The greenhouse effect is caused by the release of various gases into the atmosphere that can cause heat to be trapped in the atmosphere. Some of these gases include Carbon dioxide (CO2), Water vapour, Methane, Nitrous oxide, and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
The greenhouse effect is also caused by human activities like the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, which increases the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Other activities that have similar effects include mass clearing of land (Deforestation) and industrial wastes.
Some of the effects of the Greenhouse effect are that the earth will become warmer, and while this will be good in some regions, it will be bad for some other regions. Evaporation and precipitation of water will occur in various regions, which will cause more rainfall in some areas, while some regions will experience lesser rainfall, or even have droughts.
A more serious effect of the greenhouse effect is that the oceans will warm up, and glaciers and other ice will melt partially. This will cause the sea level to increase. The ocean water will also expand when it is warm, which in turn will also lead to a rise in sea level and consequently the flooding of some areas close to the sea.