|Climate Change and the Evidence|
|Written by Merry Akil|
|Wednesday, 06 March 2013 00:00|
Climate change includes any significant change in different variables of climate lasting for a wide period of time. It is one of the greatest environmental, social and economic challenges of the present time. It has a great impact on rainfall intensity, temperatures, bushfire frequency, sea level rise, health, biodiversity and heritage or even impact energy supply for the present and future generations.
The evidence of global warming and climate change is clear to us by changes in climate and weather all over the world. Many places and many countries have seen changes in climatic variables, such as, temperature, rainfall, resulting in more floods, intense rain, or droughts, as well as severe and more frequent heat waves. The planet's glaciers and oceans have also experienced several big changes - ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and the temperature of oceans is rising and they are becoming more acidic. As these and other vital changes become more and more pronounced in the coming decades, these will likely present challenges to our environment and our society.
The average surface temperature of the world has increased by about 0.7° Celsius during the past 100 years, and is projected to rise another 1 to 4° Celsius over the next hundred years. Although this increase sounds small, it plays a great role on the global climate change. Small changes in the average global temperature can translate to potentially dangerous and large shifts in weather and climate.
It is difficult to exactly predict what the impacts of global climate change will be, as these vary with regions. It can be estimated that by next centuries the world will face:
Human activity is the main cause of climate change. Over the last century, different human activities have released huge amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, such as SO2, CFC, CH4, CO etc. into the earth atmosphere. The majority of them come from the fossil fuel burning to produce energy, although some agricultural practices, industrial processes, and deforestation also emit gases.
Greenhouse gases act like a layer around Earth, trapping energy and ultraviolet ray in the atmosphere and warm it. This phenomenon is natural and essential to support life on Earth and is called the greenhouse effect. However, the buildup of them can change global climate and result in hazardous and dangerous effects to health and welfare of human and to ecosystems. The choices mankind make today will affect the quantity of greenhouse gases they put in the earth atmosphere in the nearest future.
Many local governments and state are already preparing for the harmful impacts of global climate change through "adaptation," that is preparation for the changes those are expected to occur. We should explore the impacts and adaptation efforts of climate change by sector or by region. It is high time to take initiative to mitigate climate change. The longer we wait, the worse it will effect and the more its cost will be.
Photo courtesy of http://icjproject.org
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