What is climate change?
Climate change refers to any significant change in weather patterns over time. This can include changes in temperature, precipitation, wind speed, humidity, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and many others.
Even with a definition of climate change, it can be tricky to decipher the difference between weather and climate. According to NASA.gov "Weather is the short-term changes we see in temperature, clouds, precipitation, humidity and wind in a region or a city. Weather can vary greatly from one day to the next, or even within the same day. In the morning the weather may be cloudy and cool. But by afternoon it may be sunny and warm." and "The climate of a region or city is its weather averaged over many years. This is usually different for different seasons. For example, a region or city may tend to be warm and humid during summer. But it may tend to be cold and snowy during winter."
Now knowing this difference, it is important to note that Earths climate is always changing. But recently, with the increase of burning of coal, oil, and gas greenhouse gases have increase, thus our planet is heating up. With this climate change that is not natural, and caused by humans, many problems can arise.
For decades now, climate change has been a hot issue. What causes it and how do we stop it?
Cause of climate change:
The primary human activity affecting the amount and rate of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. The dictionary definition of fossil fuels are any natural fuel such as coal or gas that is formed in the geological past from the remains of living organism.
Some examples are the following:
- Non-renewable energy
When fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are burned, they emit something called Greenhouse gases. Although this term is widely used, few actually know what it means.
Greenhouse gases are when gasses in the atmosphere trap heat from the sun that would otherwise be in space (nrdc.org). This entrapment is what causes the rise in temperatures on our planet and it is the reason for global warming. Instead of these warm gasses being expelled into space, they are trapped within our planet and are the reason glaciers are melting, the overall warmer weather, and the cause of many other climate & weather related issues.
Effects of climate change:
Climate change refers to any significant change in weather patterns over time. This can include the following:
- Warmer temperatures
- Melting glaciers
- Acidic oceans
- Rising ocean levels (1-8 feet by 2100)
- Rise in Ocean temperatures
- Rise in air temperatures
- Increase of droughts and heatwaves
- Insect outbreaks
- Intensified hurricanes & severe storms
- Increase Carbon dioxide levels
- Increase rates of climate change
- Increase land temperatures
The list is essentially endless. To better explain and for a longer list of effects on climate change, check out NASA's article on the topic below.
How we can stop it:
Now that you know a little but about climate change, you may be asking yourself, "How can we stop this?". Well, although the solution is easy, to get the entire world on the same page is the hard part.
One of the most important things we can do is limit the absolute greenhouse gasses we admit. By using cleaner fuels and burning less fossil fuels, this should drastically help the greenhouse gasses that are admitted onto the plant.
Next, doing things like recycling and reducing our carbon footprint are imperative to the overall success of our planet.Some small things you can do are to buy energy efficient appliances, use organic materials that benefit our planet rather than harm our planet, and use energy efficient light bulbs.
Lastly, it is essential to weatherize your home and workplaces. Human emissions from homes & workplaces are one of the hundreds of millions of reasons for climate change. By weatherizing your home and using heating and ac-units that are more energy efficient, this will help lower your personal carbon footprint. As the observed temperature of the earth rises, it is important for you to limit your own personal carbon emissions.
Climate change is not something that has just happened over night. For many years there have been several drivers of climate change. Since the industrial revolution, the increase of green house gasses has steadily raised the temperature of our planet. Unless we do not make long-term changes now, people should expect our planet to face several consequences.
We know that climate change is happening. Several climate models have shown this and they have also shown the tremendous impacts of climate change. It is up to us to solve this issue and it can be as simple as making a few changes to your daily routine.