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Causes of Climate Change

We are well aware of the effects that come along with the gradual climate change in our atmosphere. The causes of climate change have been extensively studied in the past to put an end to its adverse effects. Let us look at some of the causes of climate change, and discuss its consequences and impact on our lives.

What is Climate Change?

Climate change can be defined as the change in the weather condition of the planet that persists for a long period of time. It can also be in terms of time variation of a particular weather condition when compared to the average over a long period. Currently, climate change is seen as synonymous with global warming.

Global warming can be defined as the rise in the average temperature at the surface of the planet. Even though some individuals doubt the theory of climate change, there is a huge agreement over the fact that it is real and is happening now. The reasons for it can be both, natural or manmade and can have fatal impacts on the biodiversity. The changes that can confirm the occurrence of climate change, or as laymen call it, Global warming are a rise in sea level, shrinking ice sheets, extreme natural calamities, rise in global temperature and the like.

What causes climate change?

There are causes of climate change that can be attributed to both, humans and nature. They are:

  1. The burning of fossil fuel is one of the main reasons for global warming. The burning of oil or coal emits a large amount of greenhouse gas that leads to an increase in the atmospheric temperature and depletion of the ozone layer.
  2. The ocean and atmosphere work in harmony to generate natural occurrences that can last for years or decades. These affect the surface temperature. Eg, El Nino.
  3. Life can itself trigger climate change through processes like weathering, photosynthesis, cloud formation etc. Glaciation, global cooling, reverse glaciation can all be reasons for it.
  4. The Earth’s orbit and its revolution can affect climate changes too. As we all know that earth’s motion determines the weather and duration of seasons as it determines the distribution of sunlight. These can have an effect on the glacial meltdown or formation and hence can affect climate conditions.
  5. Volcanic eruptions tend to emit a large number of greenhouse gases that can have a detrimental effect on the climatic conditions. Sometimes, there are eruptions that release over 1 lakh tones of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere that absorb the heat from the sun leading to a rise in the temperature.
  6. Human activities can lead to negative climate changes too. These changes are irreversible and can lead to massive destructions. The main idea that one needs to understand is that even though natural happenings cannot be controlled, human activities can be. Aerosol release, land use, ozone depletion, deforestation are all the human activities that are leading to climatic changes.

What are the impacts of climate change?

The impacts of climatic change are physically noticeable.

Image Credits: The Black Vault

  1. Glaciers are seen to be the most eminent indicator. It is their size, spread, and balance that gives away crucial information on climate. As the temperatures rise, glaciers melt, if there are no balancing acts of snow formation. Since the 1940s, it has been noticed that glaciers are retreating at a very fast pace. This has led to a significant rise in the sea level that has proved to catastrophic for some regions on the planet.
  2. The type and distribution of vegetation can also change depending on the climate. An increase in the temperature might lead to early blooming and fruiting of plants that can lead to significant changes in the life pattern and cycle of living organisms. This is also true in case of temperature drops caused due to global warming.
  3. Changes in the climate lead to changes in the food web of living organisms under water, as well. It is being noticed that a large number of beetles and vertebrates are dying due to climate changes.
  4. The sea level has increased by 195 mn from 1870 to 2004 while from 2004 to the present date; the sea level has risen by a whopping 43 mn. This is fatal on many grounds.
  5. The average temperature of the planet has risen to a large extent and is expected to rise by 11.5-degree Fahrenheit over the next century.
  6. Warm oceans can be the reason behind devastating storms that are not only frequent but also strong, and can also lead to excess rainfall leading to flooding. Warmer temperature can result in wildfires that threaten the biodiversity.
  7. Climate change is not only causing changes in the atmosphere but also in the society. Global warming has terrible impacts on the food security of regions, water availability and the general health conditions of individuals.
  8. Global warming has led to the increase in the frequency and intensity of drought occurrences.
  9. Human health is also at risk due to climate changes. Indirectly, due to the changes in air, water, food, and sunlight, there are effects on agriculture and industry leading to difficult living conditions.

Read more about the different types of environment pollution here.

How can we stop the negative changes?

There are various policies that can be implemented and enforced to look into the issue of global warming or climate change. This can be in terms of reducing the greenhouse gas emission caused by humans or adapting to the effects of climatic changes. In such a case, short-term policies can have long-term effects. There needs to be proper mitigation policy to arrest the overutilization of fossil fuels to meet energy demands for consumption and industrial purpose and policies to curb deforestation.

There are micro level steps, too, that can help reduce the negative effects of climate changes. Not wasting energy by leaving the lights on, not wasting water by leaving the taps on when not in use, or planting trees occasionally and carpooling instead of wasting fuel can all contribute to solving the problem of climate change.

This was our article on causes of climate change. For an article detailing the difference between climate and weather, you can look here!

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