Climate forms a major element of change in the world. Every now and then one can watch the climatic schedules and process changes, taking place around the globe.
A. Meaning of Climate Change
Climate change refers to the various changes in the climate & weather patterns due to the long period variations in the environment and its other factors.
Climate change is any drastic shift in weather and climate patterns. More specifically, it means worrying changes in climate. Climate change refers to the negative changes on climate patterns due to:
- introduction of excess greenhouses gases such as Carbon di-oxide,
- as a result of excessive burning of fossil fuels.
Simple changes in the environment tend to change the weather and climatic conditions. For example- A rise in the temperature can lead to sudden rainfalls even if it’s not a rainy season. It costs a lot when people are not prepared for it.
Sometimes, climate change is sometimes called global warming.
Climate change also refers to the environmental changes that occur due to ozone layer depletion. There is a huge relation between the ozone layer and climate. The ozone layer is referred as the protective shield or blanket around the planet-EARTH. The major role of this protective layer is to protect the earth from harmful radiations from the sun. Ozone layer depletion may give rise to extreme climatic conditions like- global warming, etc.
Climate change also means the variations in the changes in the atmosphere, air, land areas and other elements of the earth due to external factors.
Climate change further includes any periodic or sudden change in the temperature or pressure conditions in the normal days. It further includes variations in the:
- chemical changes like- acid rain, etc.,
- global changes like- Global Warming, melting of the polar ice, Greenhouse effect, etc.,
- depletion of the ozone layer of the atmosphere,
- surge in carbon dioxide and other harmful gas content.
Causes: The causes of climate change can be narrowed down to two key things. The first is releasing CO2 and CO (greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere. These gases form a layer that traps the sun’s rays and warms the atmosphere. The second is the destruction of the ozone layer, which enables more solar rays to penetrate through it and warm the earth.
- Fossil fuels: Burning fossil fuels in homes and factories warms the earth’s atmosphere.
- Spraying aerosols: This damages the ozone layer and allows more harmful rays from the sun into the atmosphere.
- Deforestation: Trees help to pump oxygen into the atmosphere and control levels of carbon.
- Air travel: Travel by air releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- The shipping industry: large container ships account for a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
B. Factors Contributing to Climate Change
There have been multiple factors resulting in major climatic changes in and around the globe. There are two major factors that have played key roles in the climate change – Biotic and Abiotic factors.
The term Biotic means “relating to or resulting from living organisms”. This factor is also derived from the living factors that contribute towards the changes in the environment.
- Excessive pollution emission to the environment: Pollution tends to be one of the greatest contributors to the global warming and climate change. Human activities, industrialization and growth have resulted in pollution and its related effects. The industrial waste released in the various water sources results into water pollution. The toxic fumes and gases that are being released in the atmosphere have resulted in air pollution. As an amalgamated result of excessive emissions from the various pollution types, the environment is getting polluted. This is the prime reason behind the climatic changes as an effect of pollution.
- Polluting the natural sources of water, air and energy: The earth is full of various natural resources of water, air and energy for our day to day activity utilization. As an adverse effect of the pollution these natural sources are not only getting contaminated but polluted too. In turn they are affecting the climate to the extreme level.
- Higher dependency on non-renewable sources of energy: Due to a pacified growth in the urbanization and industrialization, humans are looking for fast and easy to use sources of energy. Non-renewable sources of energy are thus the favorite choice among the industrialists as compared to the renewable sources. This has thus increased the dependency level but simultaneously has put an extreme pressure on the crude oil consumption and natural redemption process too.
- Urbanization: Excess of everything is wrong and so is for urbanization. Urbanization has led to increased need of energy sources. In need of higher sources of energy, there has been excess digging of the fossil fuels. This has mainly been due to the multiple human activities like industrialization and growth establishments.
- Deforestation: Excessive cutting of the trees leads to deforestation. We humans in need of creating paper, match sticks and other materials out of trees are growing high on the pace of cutting down trees. Trees are responsible for absorbing the CO2 and releasing O2 against it. Cutting down the trees in an excessive order disturbs this balance, thereby leading to climatic changes.
- Industrialization and Greenhouse gases emissions: Most of the greenhouse gases that have the property of absorbing the heat coming from the sun without reflecting back are emitted during the various industrialization processes. Growing rate of industrialization has led to the high emission of toxic fumes and other greenhouse gases like-methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, etc. into the environment.
- Interference with the natural proceedings of the nature: In the process of attaining maximum growth and reaching the greater success heights, humans have even started interfering with the natural proceedings of the nature. This has directly affected the balance of the nature and the biological cycle as well that affects the climatic changes to a great extent.
The term Abiotic refers to the factors “that is not related to or derived from living organisms”.
- Changes in earth orbit and axis: Even the slightest changes in the earth’s orbit can lead to drastic changes in the temperature. Earth’s orbit and axis is responsible for the change of the season. Any deviation from the normal indent will lead to changes in temperature, pressure, etc. leading to deviations in the climate too.
- Variations in the sun’s radiation that reaches the earth’s surface: Depletion of the ozone layer is the biggest problem that has led to the variations in the solar radiations reaching the earth’s surface. It is due to this factor that like- high temperature rise, melting of the ice-caps, etc. takes place resulting in major climatic changes.
- Changes in the earth’s climate system due to atmosphere and Hydrosphere: The atmosphere composed of the various gases and water vapor tends to be the most unstable and continuously changing part of the earth’s system. The changes in its composition have been responsible for the organic evolution of the Earth. Any changes in the composition of the atmosphere have therefore led to effective changes in the climate on the earth enabling higher heat and solar short-wave radiations absorption. Similarly the Earth’s hydrosphere is also a major component of climatic changes. Made up of all the available water sources on the planet it composes a major component on the earth for providing the water cycle. Water cycle is a result of water from various sources getting heated throughout the atmosphere in the form of water vapor and precipitation, resulting in rains. Thus changes in hydrosphere will directly affect the water cycle, Earth’s glaciers and will provide major effects on coastal marine systems as well as for the input to the rivers.
- Changes due to Cryosphere: Cryosphere refers to the icebergs or ice laid portions of the earth. Some of the significant global climate change emerges as a result of changes in the Cryosphere. Global warming is one major change that results into significant climatic changes, especially the melting of the ice caps resulting in higher water levels and various other related changes in the climate as well.
- Climatic changes emerging due to lithosphere and biosphere: The volcanic eruptions are considered to be of huge effect to the Earth’s climatic changes. Biosphere and the Lithosphere comprised of the land affects the climate with visible changes in temperature, i.e. more cooler climate affects the biosphere and as a result shortens the growing season and its change.
- Due to humidity: Various factors like-Temperature, Clouds, wind and humidity around the atmosphere lead to various cyclic changes in the climate. Humidity causes various periodic changes along with Earth’s air masses variations as well. This leads to temperature warms, absorbing higher moisture making the low-pressure systems cooler and cloudier that causes storms.
C. Effects of Climate Change
The effects of climate change can be devastating for people all through the world. This is why climate change is a global issue.
- The atmosphere can change suddenly: Changes in the climate may lead to sudden frequent changes in the atmosphere. This has lead to major climatic frequencies going on and off. This is the prime reason behind higher temperature change and frequent rains any time anywhere.
- Weather cannot be predicted: It is due to this fact that the frequent weather changes have resulted into weather changes almost every day. These changes are so frequent that cannot be predicted precisely, leading to fallbacks of storms or other major climatic eruptions out of nowhere.
- Sudden heavy rainfall or snowfall might occur: Another major outcome as a result of the climatic changes is the sudden rainfall or snowfall in the areas specific to it. Excess and sudden fallout of both the elements leads to problematic situations for day to day living and periodic business and industrial activities.
- The climate might suddenly get warmer: It is due to the global warming and effect of the greenhouse effect the temperature tends to high rise leading to a sudden warm up of the atmosphere. This is mainly due to this reason; we tend to feel a temperature rise even during the cooler seasons.
- Decrease in the flora and fauna: Insufficient environmental resources that lead to growth of the flora and fauna have resulted in the decrease of the flora and fauna on the earth. The decrease of this sort is a major threat to the earth that will result in normal living on the earth.
- Global warming: Global warming has led to rise in the earth’s temperature on a higher scale. This has in turn resulted into melting of the polar ice leading to rise in the water level on the earth. If this continues, there are chances of floods and sudden climatic changes on the earth.
- Changed habits of people: With the regular climatic situations continuing on the globe, people have been habitual to them. But, with the significant changes in the climate, people will have to experience a changed habits and habitats as well.
- Various health problems: Fighting with the changed climatic conditions and temperatures around the globe, multiple health problems are obvious to rise. The major reason behind the same is due to evolvement of new diseases due to the imbalanced temperature and humidity changes.
- Deforestation and destruction: Under the civilized and high industrialized development on the earth, multiple repays have to be made. One of the major effects due to this is deforestation and destruction. This is a bad sign for the balance of the nature with the reduction of the number of trees on the earth.
- Greenhouse effect: With the rise in greenhouse gases, greenhouse effect tends to be on a high scaled rise. This will directly lead to the rise in the temperature of the earth. An extreme rise in the temperature as a result of greenhouse effect is a thought provoking climatic change on the earth.
- Melting ice caps: In the warmer atmosphere, the polar ice caps start to melt.
- Acidification: Both oceans and rainfall can become harmfully acidified due to the greenhouse gases dissolved in them.
D. Solutions to Climate Change
- Global warming should be reduced: As a foremost solution to the climatic changes, the global warming needs to be reduced. This will not only ease the climatic fluctuations but also reduce the temperature and humidity changes in the atmosphere.
- Prevention of pollution: Pollution must be reduced to the greatest extent in order to reduce the effect on climatic changes. Pollution tends to be a role players in climatic change, thus even an effort to minimize the various types of pollution can be highly beneficial in this regard.
- Prevention of toxic emissions from industries: The toxic fumes and other chemical emissions coming from the industries are a prime reason and contributor to pollution. Thus, any such toxic fumes must be treated with utmost care and filtered to reduce the toxicity of the industrial emissions.
- Grow more trees near industries: Regular tree plantations in the proximity to the industrial area will be of great help for reducing the toxic effects of the industrial fumes. This will not only promote higher Oxygen emission to the environment but will also absorb the greenhouse gases as well.
- Encouraging plantation of trees everywhere: Forestation growth and plantation of high number of trees everywhere is a great practice towards reducing the pollution and other effects on the climate. The trees can help gain the lost oxygen content and retain the atmospheric composition.
- Greenhouse gases should be reduced: The greenhouse gases emission needs to be reduced. This will lead to reduction of greenhouse effect on the earth and lower down the temperature rise on the earth. This will automatically help in reducing the effect of various factors contributing towards the climate change.
- Awareness about disaster management: Disaster management is another highly recommended solution towards reducing the climatic variations on the earth. This will help understand and excel in the handling process of any such harmful emission or disruptions that can contribute to climate change on a wider scale.
- Habitats should be maintained properly: The various habitats of the people living there is built by keeping in mind the season and climate of the place. Keeping a check on the same and maintaining it properly will definitely help in maintaining the climatic deviations due to the various other factors. Maintaining the habitats helps in unnecessary adverse affects on the atmosphere and the environment resulting into major climatic deviations and fluctuations.
- Organization of world summits for international discussion: The various continents and countries can be a great contributor towards reducing the major climatic changes on the globe. Joining hands together will definitely create and ideology towards reducing the factors that will affect the climate, adversely.
- Spreading general awareness about climate change & its effects: General awareness to the general public can be of great help even in the slightest ratio. This will be a great step towards educating the people about the climatic changes, its effects and other factors responsible for it. With this simple step, one can let people understand the importance of avoiding factors that leads to climatic disruptions and how to avoid it.
Climate Change have affected the earth’s atmosphere and vice-versa. This has led to a significant change in the temperature, pressure, humidity and other major factors that have contributed to global warming and climate change. Any such interference with the normal natural course of the nature will lead to changes that can not only affect the climate drastically but lead to pay heavily in the longer run. Thus, one should avoid any such interference and imbalances causing activities to lead a better life.
We must all start to act right now in order to stop climate change.
Contributors: (1) Sehba, (2) Laura.