Effects of Climate Change
For years on end, global warming has been there, but currently the pace and degree have increased to unprecedented amounts. Scientists predict that mother earth will become inhabitable by humans quite quickly with the ongoing climate changes. While global warming is still triggered by natural causes, human behaviour is mostly intensified, particularly with regard to carbon dioxide emissions, otherwise known as the greenhouse effect. This paper looks at many facets of global change, including certain triggers, consequences and methods of reducing these complex effects.
Keywords: global warming, climate change, aerosols, carbon dioxide.
The milankovitch theory implies three cyclic events alter the volume of solar radiation that enters the planet over time and eventually it causes climate change. According to Burroughs (2007) eccentricity is a cyclical variation that determines the shape of the earth’s orbit around the sun. The more elliptical the earth’s orbit is, the greater the variation in solar energy that is received at the top of the atmosphere between the earth’s perihelion and aphelion. On its axis, as the planet rotates, it wobbles hence changing the timing of the solstices, and equinoxes a process known as the procession of the equinox. Volcanic eruptions eject large amounts of sulphur dioxide gas which reacts water vapor found in the stratosphere to form a dense layer that reduces atmospheric transmission of sun’s incoming radiation. Sun spots, which are caused by the sun’s magnetic field are dark, planet sized regions that appear on the sun’s surface. These regions are colder than with an average temperature of 4,000K. Climate change can be explained by these factors although they are only some of those which cause climate change.
Since 1979, the summer polar ice cap’s size has shrunk more than 20% and this has not only affected the natives but the globe as a whole. The contraction of the arctic ice cap accelerates global warming since the protective, cooling layer over the arctic is melting and hence the earth absorbs more sunlight (Kininmonth 2004). If the arctic is warmer, this will affect weather patterns since the rest of the world will also warm up and eventually food production will decrease. In contrast, most of the world depends on melted glaciers for fresh water supply through lakes and rivers hence their melting will cause short supply of the same. It will also cause shortage of electricity since a great percentage of the world’s population depends on melting glaciers for hydro electric power. Animals, birds and fish may lose their ecosystems because some animals need glacier temperatures to thrive, while some bird species depend on fish found in fresh melting waters to live. In the environment, this would create an imbalance. However, both melting glaciers and ice sheets based on earth contribute to rising sea levels which in turn cause flooding and contamination of fresh water supplies.
- Burroughs, J. W. (2007). Climate change: A multidisciplinary approach. Cambridge University Press Publication.
- Houghton, T. J. (2004). Global warming: The complete briefing. (3rd Ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Kininmonth, W. (2004). Climate change: A natural hazard. Multi science publishers.
- Weart, R. S. (2008). The discovery of global warming. Harvard university press.