Climate Change, Its Causes and Potential Results

Introduction

Since the turn of the century, the world came to terms with the realities of rapidly changing climatic conditions characterized by extremely high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Although the global climate has experienced numerous changes throughout history, the events experienced in the modern era have had adverse negative effects on the atmosphere (Leary, 2008). According to scientists, climate change generally involves an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. These changes are attributable to variations in crucial elements such as the earth’s orbit, which has a direct impact on the effectiveness of the ozone layer. One of the most notable elements about climate change is the fact that the existing scientific evidence regarding its potential causes and results is unambiguous (Maslin, 2014). I concur with 97% of climate scientists, whose studies have established that the major causes of climate change over the last century were activities induced by human beings.

This conclusion has been achieved through the help of various global scientific organizations, which have a lot of data about the changes in the atmosphere over the course of several centuries (Haldar, 2010). The main cause of the increase in the earth’s temperature is the high concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Research has established that human activities are the greatest contributors to the high volumes of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere (Leary, 2008). Once these gases become highly concentrated in the atmosphere, the ozone layer whose primary role is protecting the earth from the strong rays of the sun starts to deplete at a high rate. This eventually reduces its effectiveness with regard to regulating the earth’s temperature levels, thus resulting in global warming.

Possible causes of climate change that are humanly related

One of the major causes of climate change in the world is the extensive expansion of the greenhouse effect through human activity. Some of the greenhouse gases that have had a notable effect include nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor (Maslin, 2014). The amount of heat being produced on the earth’s surface has increased a lot over the years. Life on the earth’s surface is highly dependent on the energy received from the sun, which is eventually absorbed and radiated back into the atmosphere in the form of infrared heat (Desonie, 2008). Scientists argue that the outgoing heat is often absorbed by molecules of the greenhouse gases and eventually re-emitted in various directions, thus warming the earth’s surface and lowering the atmosphere. Burning of fossil fuels is one of the major human activities that have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (Maslin, 2014). Coal is one of the major fuels that have been exploited heavily over the last decade, resulting in a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Research has also established that clearing of land for varied uses such as agriculture and human settlement have also affected the regulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (Leary, 2008). Trees and other forms of natural vegetation play a crucial role in regulating atmospheric temperatures. Clearing of land for agriculture, industrial development, and human settlement results in climate change due to high volumes of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In particular, industrial activities have been singled out as the highest source of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The level of industrialization across the world is very high, despite the fact that very little is being done with regard to the amount and possible impacts of the gases released into the atmosphere from the industries (Desonie, 2008).

Possible causes of climate change that are not related to human activities

Although the biggest percentage of climate changes experienced in the world over the years has been attributed to human activities, studies have established that natural and non-human activities also contribute to this phenomenon. One of the common natural activities that cause climate change is volcanic eruptions (Casper, 2010). Eruptions often involve large quantities of dust, which spreads into the atmosphere. The high quantities of dust often have an impact on the atmospheric temperatures, whereby the radiation into the earth’s surface reduces resulting in cooler conditions. A good example of a recent phenomenon that has had an impact on the climate is the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines (Maslin, 2014). According to scientists, natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions often affect the ability of the ozone layer to work effectively in terms of protecting the earth’s surface from the strong rays of the sun.

Studies have also established that the sun has a huge impact on climate change. The energy levels that reach the earth’s surface from the sun are often varied, thus affecting the climatic conditions (Romm, 2015). Orbital changes also identify has natural activities that influence climate change. Studies have established that shifts in the earth’s orbit over the last several years have led to some parts of the world experiencing extreme climatic conditions. A good example of the way orbital changes affect climate change is the Sahara desert. Research shows that the dessert was among the most fertile grasslands. However, due to changes in the way the earth revolved around the sun, the area started receiving varying amounts of sunlight over prolonged periods of time that resulted in the land becoming a desert (Maslin, 2014). Although orbital changes do not happen frequently and at high degrees, scientists argue that any slight variations have the capacity to cause a huge effect.

Potential results of climate change

Research has established that climate change has several potential results and effects, which influence heavily on life on the earth’s surface. Reports of studies conducted over the last couple of decades indicate that the effects of climate change over the period are quite visible when one considers the changes experienced in the environment. Lakes have started to dry up, plants are taking longer or shorter periods to mature, and shrinking of glaciers among others (Romm, 2015). Some of the most possible potential results of climate change over the coming years include prolonged droughts, wildfires, and tropical storms. The global temperatures are also tipped to continue rising in the coming years, owing to the fact that the demand for more settlement and industrial land keeps increasing. In addition, the effects of climate change that will be experienced in different parts of the world will vary a lot along with the elements of time and degree of damage. Scientists argue that warmer conditions are likely to result in increased evaporation and overall precipitation, thus lowing sea levels in some areas (Maslin, 2014).

Due to the greenhouse effect, the sea levels are likely to rise because the increase in temperature levels will result in the melting of the ice and glaciers. Scientists argue that the cost of dealing with the effects of climate change is likely to increase over time, owing to the fact that the numerous global partnerships that have been created with the aim of coming up with effective mitigation measures have failed to harmonize their resources in an effective manner. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is an urgent need for climate scientists to carry out extensive research on the underlying effects of climate change that could be undermining the numerous efforts being made by relevant authorities to caution people against its effects (Romm, 2015).

Conclusion

In order to understand climate change and deal with it in an effective manner, it is important to accept the fact that it is real. This will play a crucial role in taking it seriously in terms of understanding the role of human activities and natural causes in its course. Owing to the fact that human beings are the greatest force behind the high rate of climate change, scientists believe that they have the ability to devise effective ways of reducing its effects. One of the most effective ways through which human beings could reduce the effects of climate change is choosing to use renewable energy. This will play a crucial role in reducing the number of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Other ways through which humans can achieve this feat include effective waste management, taxation, applying the polluter pays principle, choosing to eat organic foods over processed ones, and increasing knowledge about climate change. Studies have established that the lack of adequate information about climate change is one of the major shortcomings of the numerous efforts made across the globe to deal with the phenomenon.

References

Casper, J.K. (2010). Changing Ecosystems: Effects of Global Warming. New York, NY: Info Base Publishing.

Desonie, D. (2008). Climate: Causes and Effects of Climate Change. New York, NY: Info Base Publishing.

Haldar, I. (2010). Global Warming: The Causes and Consequences. San Francisco, CA: Mind Melodies.

Leary, N. (2008). Climate Change and Vulnerability. New York, NY: Earth Scan.

Maslin, M. (2014). Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction (Third Edition). Los Angels, CA: Oxford University Press.

Romm, J. (2015). Climate Change. Los Angels, CA: Oxford University Press.