Hello STEMsocial community. My name is Naza and today I’ll be writing about Climate change and global warming. I’m very excited to be writing about this topic because I’m very particular about our environment and how it affects us.
Last year, my colleagues and I partook in a movement (Port Harcourt Climate Awareness March) against climate change and we were able to create awareness about climate change and global warming.
Source -Phone Camera
Source -Phone Camera
First of all, what is Climate? What can we make of the word ‘Climate’? Climate is basically the studies weather pattern of an area over a long period of time. The pattern of the weather could change from time to time. According to WMO (World Meteorological Organization), the climate is studied for at least a period of 30 years.
Change in weather patterns can be caused by natural factors like change in solar emissions, changes in the earth’s orbit, latitude and elevation, or it could be human induced. There are different types of climate, which may include; tropical, dry, temperate, continental, polar, highlands. The climate plays a large role in determining how well and how much plants and animals thrive in an environment.
Climate change is the change in measures of the climate over a long period of time. These changes may be induced by natural factors, but in recent times changes in climate has been caused by human beings. Fossil fuel burning is the number one human activity that has led to an adverse change in the climate today.
Global warming is the increase in Earth temperatures caused mainly by the heating of the Earth’s surface as a result of human activities like active combustion (burning) of fossil fuels which causes the trapping of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This happens over a long period of time.
It is safe to say that Global Warming is the side effect of Climate Change caused by human activities. There is an accumulation of excess and unnecessary energy in the atmosphere which has adverse effect on the Earth as a whole.
The temperature of the Earth is increasing very rapidly and has increased over the past years. From studies carried out, this increase cannot be merely caused by nature; further research adds that greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere is the leading cause of changes in climate. And of course, human activities are responsible for this.
These human activities that are responsible for global warming may include the burning of fossil fuels from vehicles, industries, machineries, households, etc. These burnings emit a particular type of toxic gas which is very harmful, this gas is known as Carbon dioxide. This gas is the leading gas that causes warming of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Another cause of global warming is the depletion of trees. This is one aspect that Forestry-based organizations try to sensitize people about. When trees are felled, it reduces the chances of combating the effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is because trees have the ability to sequester carbon, through a process called Carbon Sequestration. Carbon sequestration is the process by which trees naturally capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store in itself, this process reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere thus reducing the rate at which the climate is changing.
Most of the changes in climate have been predicted to be irreversible and might last for the next couple of centuries, with the Earth’s temperature continually rising.
Effects of Climate Change and Global Warming
Flooding: Rapid rise in global temperatures cause a warming of sea bodies leading to melting of the sea ice. This melting causes a rise in sea levels. The sea rises to the point that it overflows through its shores and spreads, leading people out of their homes, damaging buildings and infrastructure. Flooding can also be a cause of spread of diseases in the environment.
Drought: Drought is simply the reduction or lack of moisture on the Earth’s surface. When the Earth’s temperature gets warmer as time progresses, it leads to increase in evaporation rates and this increase causes a reduction in moisture from the soils and it’s vegetation. Drought makes the environment drier than it should on a normal day and there are naturally dry areas which drought makes even drier.
Drought can hamper the production of food too. This is because when moisture from the soils are relatively reduced, the conditions for food production becomes very unfavorable. Less and unattractive food is produced. This can lead to a drop in nutrition when such food is consumed, bringing about poor health. Also, the health of the people is disturbed through inhalation of smoke from drought-caused wildfires.
Drought also reduces the supply of water for day-to-day use. Many people depend on natural sources of water for survival. When the atmosphere is too dry, water supply is reduced.
- Poor health: Rising temperatures can affect the general health of individuals, causing a deviation from the normal state of health. It can hinder productivity and increase death rate.
Remedy for Climate Change and Global Warming
Stop or at least reduce the burning of fossil fuels. If we can bring the combustion of fossil fuels to an absolute end or at least reduce it, there would be less carbon dioxide in circulation in the atmosphere.
Switch to renewable source of energy. You might want to ask, ‘if we stop fossil fuel burning, how then do we cope?’.. well, renewable energy like solar energy, wind energy, wave energy is a good replacement for the burning of fossil fuels.
Encourage the planting of trees. Afforestation practices (planting of trees where they had never been planted before) and reforestation practices (planting of trees where they had been planted before but were removed for some reasons) should be adopted. Trees help to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through a natural process called photosynthesis (as mentioned earlier). The more trees we plant, the less toxic the environment is.
Stop the destruction of the forests. This cannot be over-emphasized. Forests are very important in combating the effects of climate change. It is worse when we cannot stop fossil fuel burning and there’s still a significant loss of forest trees. Forest trees embody the very harmful toxins gotten from the environment. These toxins are detrimental to humans and animals.
- Have you learnt anything from today’s topic?
- In your opinion, how can you explain climate change and global warming?
- Is global warming as a result of climate change?
- What are the causes of global warming?
- How can we curb climate change and global warming as a society?