An Introduction; Understanding Climate Change
Whenever we talk about environment, Climate Change happens to be the most common and most familiar term we find in our conversations today. It has become one of the major global stories in world politics, a bold headline in everyday news paper. It is something that concerns thousands of politicians around the world and affects millions that inhabit planet earth today. It is something that has and will have either direct or indirect affect on all of us. YES! Climate Change is very complicated but it is happening. This is exactly why understanding Climate Change is important.
To understand the reality of Climate Change it’s essential that we know that Climate Change is nothing new. It has been something that has always been happening and it’s something that will keep on happening. Since Earths existence some 4.5 billion years ago there have been constant changes in global climatic conditions. Earth has undergone major periods of climatic shifts in the past as well, including 4 ice ages.
What is climate?
Climate is a state, which can be referred by compiled statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other metrological elements in a region or an area over a long period of time, let’s say in years. Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the current or present conditions of these same elements and their variation of a much smaller period of time, let’s say up to two or three weeks.
Climate Change can therefore be referred as the variation in global or regional climates over time, reflecting changes in variability or average state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years.
Why Climate Change now? As said earlier Climate Change has always been happening and it is something that will continue to happen. The reason for the major Climate Change periods in the past include the positions of the continents (continental drift and plate tectonic theory), variation in the Earth’s orbit, changes in suns intensity and volcanism. However the most recent causes of Climate Change now can be more man-made than that of the natural causes.
One major reason for the current Climate Change happening now is caused by the increase in surface temperature of the Earth as our human activities have resulted in what is called the Global Warming. However, it should also be noted that Climate Change does not necessarily mean the Earth getting warmer but also in some places extreme weather conditions also has decreased temperature resulting a very cold phenomenon; therefore cold areas may experience more coldness due to the change in climate or those areas that were once very warm may shift to what appears to be a rather cool weather condition. All of this is part of Climate Change.
Why human activity?
In the past 100 or more year human advancement and rapid development boosted Climate Change. During what became known as the Industrial Revolution (18th to 19th century), human activities increased in an alarming rate. We started burning more fossil fuels which caused large amounts of Carbon dioxide, Methane, Hydro Chloro Carbons, Chloro Fluoro Carbons etc… produced from factories, industries and other human ‘welfare’ such as cars and refrigerators to be released, all this released gases had to go up somewhere … which sadly was the atmosphere. This fueled the increase in Green House Effect causing Earth to get warmer. And there it was the beginning of Global Warming.
Changes in Green House gas concentration rapidly amplified due to the increased human activities in the last century. These Green House gases are supposed to be a part of a natural occurrence called the Green House Effect, which maintains the Earth’s average temperature. Without this effect, temperature on the Earth would be much lower than they are suppose to be, and the existence of life on this planet would not be possible. However, when there are too many of these Green House gases up in the Earth’s atmosphere it results in a rapid increase in temperature, which is again not at all a good thing. When more Green House gases or more ‘heat’ are trapped in the atmosphere what happens next is an increase in the mean global temperature. This causes changes in the weather pattern, and when this change happens for over long periods in an area this can result a net Climate Change for that area. The increased acceleration of high concentration of Green House gases ‘are’ and ‘is’ becoming the real threat of Global Climate Change. Today Climate Change has become a major Global issue rather than just an issue for some area in some part of the world.
Global Warming which is basically the rise in high temperature all over the world resulted in melting of ice in both poles as well as the glaciers high up in the mountains causing another major global catastrophe called Sea-Level rise. Melted water ending up in the seas, which then started to raise the mean Sea-Level causing Small Island states like the Maldives, Kiribati and Tuvalu to become threatened for its very existence as the seas that surrounded these pearls in the ocean are raising to swallow and submerge these small island countries.
To add to this Human development also came with a lot of bonus destruction to our Mother Nature. Human settlement and material wealth increased cutting down large areas of forest land which became known as Deforestation. Forests that were not only home for a diverse wildlife and ecosystem but also one natural force that fought against the increasing levels of Green House gases, as green plants intake Carbon dioxide as food releasing Oxygen into the Earth, which was a natural remedy that balanced Earth was no longer active.
High temperatures made dry land more dryer causing desertification. Oceans have started to become warmer. Wildlife, marine and terrain ecosystems are extremely affected. Extinction of some of the most spectacular creatures on the surface of the Earth has already begun. Human health is influenced and homes are being lost. Climate Change is very real and very true. It is happening and we all are victims. We need to battle against it, and win the war on Climate Change if we want to survive. “It is a matter of life and death”