Global Climate Change
Human activities are to blame for the global climate change experienced over the years. The Earth’s climate depends on the functioning of a natural ‘greenhouse effect’ to maintain its warmth. Heat-trapping gases, also known as greenhouse gases, absorb heat from the earth’s surface, and then radiate much of the energy back towards the surface. The natural gases are composed of water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and nitrous oxide. The levels of the gases are influenced by a variety of factors, both natural and human induced. Greenhouse gases produced by humans have led to the worsening global climate.
Drake argues that humans are responsible for cause 90 percent of the factors that change the composition of the greenhouse gases (7). High concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the principal cause of climate change. Humans are burning fossils to produce fuel used to generate electricity and fuel machines. Huge amounts of carbon dioxide are also produced from industrial factories when producing products for human consumption. The concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by roughly 35 percent since the begining of industrial revolution (Brown 124). Forests have also been cleared to pave way for farming, settlement, timber among other purposes. Trees and plants act as carbon sinks since they help in converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Deforestation has therefore reduced the uptake of carbon dioxide by trees and other plants.
The levels of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere has also been on the rise over the recent past. Humans are increasingly using organic fertilizers to boost their agricultural production. Production of nitric acid for commercial use and burning of organic matter to produce electricity, are also other human activities which increase the concentration of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. Increased livestock farming, mining, decomposing garbage, and use of certain fossils such as sewage, have increased the concentration of methane gas in the atmosphere.
The industrialized countries are responsible for most of the human greenhouses emitted into the atmosphere. According to the United Nations, China, United State and the European Union, are collectively responsible for emiting 44.19 percent of the global greenhouse gases produced in 2005 (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 6). The impact of global warming can be felt through out the entire world. Africa and the Middle East seems to be those who are most affected. Countries inccur huge economic loses and loss of lives because of the declining global climate.
Over the recent past, the number of storms, tornados and hurricanes occurrences has been on the rise. The ocean water is becoming warmer, making the hurricanes and tropical rains to have stronger winds. The latest the hurricane that hit the United States was Hurricane Sandy, which took place on June 2012. Changes in rains and snow pattern have also been witnessed in different regions. According to a survey conducted by United Nations Environment Programme, 2000 to 2009 recorded, the warmest decade ever experienced (32). Green house gases trap the heat reflected by the Earth surface leading to rise in temperatures. Higher temperatures increases the rate of water evaporation from the earth surface. This will lead to an increase in rainfall in certain areas. Changes in movement of ocean and air currents have led to some regions receiving lesser rainfall then before.
Droughts are being experienced in regions with prolonged lack of rainfall. In addition, high temperatures are melting down permafrost, glaciers, sea ice, and snow packs. These occurrences can be seen in the Northern Arctic. A recent study indicates that glaciers have reduced by 12 meters in thickness between 1961 and 2005. The survey also states that the portion of the sea covered by ice has shrunk, and its thickness has reduced over the same period (Eamer, Ahlenius, Prestrud 22). Aa a result of high tepeartures, the number of wildfires has increased. Many people and wild animals living in the forest displaced from their homes because of the wildfires. High temperatures acts as a catalyst to the fire making causing a major challenge to the rescue efforts. Climate change has an impact on human health. High temperatures affects people with heat allergies especially albinos. Since they have less melanin in on their skin, they become more vulnerable to high temperatures and the sun’s ultraviolet rays. High temperatures and exposure to ultraviolet rays increses the the chances of a person to suffer of skin cancer or snow blindness.
Sea levels are also rising because of warmer water. Melting down of glacier has also increases the quantity of water causing the sea to rise. Icreasing ocean acidity is also being witnessed. This is because the ocean is absorbing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere resulting to concentration of carbonic acid in water.
above, human activities play a major role in the worsening climate. However, some
people and institutions urge that the levels human green house gases are too low
to cause a global climate change. According to the, the gases produced by
humans are being absorbed by trees. Depleting forest cover nullifies this argumentation.
The worsening global climate change will continue unless more substantive
measures are taken to regulate human activites.
Brown, Neville. History and Climate Change: An Eurocentric Perspective. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.
Drake, Frances. Global Warming: The Science of Climate Change. London: Arnold, 2000. Print.
Eamer, Joan, Hugo Ahlenius, and Pål Prestrud. Global Outlook for Ice & Snow. Nairobi, Kenya: Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA), United Nations Environment Programme, 2007. Print.
United Nations Environment Programme. Unep Year Book 2010: New Science and Developments in Our Changing Environment. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Programme, 2010. Print.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. UNFCCC 2011 Annual report. Bonn, Germany: UNFCCC, 2011. Print.