What is Climate Change?
It is the Change in Earth’s Climate due to the increased concentrations of anthropogenic CO2 released into the atmosphere by human (anthropogenic) activities such as: burning of fossil fuels (transportation, industrial processes, electricity and heat production) deforestation, land use changes, cement production, etc.
About 50% of CO2 emissions in US cities is due to the use of electricity, and the other 43-47% is attributed to transportation.
Earth’s Climate naturally takes hundreds or even millions of years to change, but NOW our daily activities are producing environmental changes that are putting the “Natural Earth Balance” in RISK.
Increased of CO2 emissions over the last 250 years
Humans are now pumping more than 33 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Since the Industrial Revolution began in the late 1700s, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased more than 40% over the past 250 years.
Developed countries (USA, China, India, Russia, Germany, etc.) are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere.
Why CO2 and other greenhouse gases affect Earth’s Climate?
The greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, O3 and CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons)) increase the temperature of the troposphere because they adsorb infrared energy radiated from the Earth. The greenhouse gases have a heat-trapping capacity, which has raised the global problem of Climate Change.
At the present time, the most important greenhouse gas to study is the CO2 due to its continuing increase in the atmosphere and the oceans.
Effects or Consequences of Climate Change
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.
- Increased atmosphere and ocean temperatures
- Melting of polar ice, diminishing the amounts of snow and sea ice.
- Ocean Acidification
- Rising sea level as a result of melting polar ice, glaciers, and thermal expansion by increasing ocean temperature.
- Changes in deep-ocean circulation as a result of melting polar ice & glaciers, which will increase freshwater producing density changes.
- Changes in atmospheric circulation patterns
- Changes in precipitation (floods & droughts)
- Intense hurricane activity
- Coastal Erosion
- Changes in seawater chemistry, which impact marine life.
- Coral Reef degradation
- Decline in Flora and Fauna diversity
- Socio-economic impacts (human migration, damaged infrastructure, increasing losses to industry, heat-related mortality and illness, scarcity of food and water, etc.)