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What Is Climate Change?

Billions of people around the world are experiencing climate change’s effects. Every day, the world around us is changing for the worse. The weather is getting warmer, storms and hurricanes are getting stronger, the glaciers in the Antarctic are getting smaller by the second. But how many people actually know what climate change is? Sure, millions and millions of people may have heard the term very often, but only a few really understand its importance.

Climate change basics

Climate change refers to the change in the usual temperature, rainfall, wind and other conditions in a region or city, which takes place over a long-term period. This could be a shocking increase in the number of records of high-temperature events in a certain country. Or maybe a sudden change in the average annual rainfall in a particular region. Scientists have discovered that the main cause of this change is humans.

But what is the evidence that we do cause climate change?

How humans affect the Earth

Back in the mid-19th century, scientists confirmed and illustrated the heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases. It has been concluded that the abundance of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere has given way to Earth’s warming ten times faster than before. These gases are most possibly the result of human activities from the mid-20th century up until the present time. Some of the biggest contributors to the expansion of greenhouses gases are the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil and industrial activities. The result is that the level of carbon dioxide present in the air rises.

Another factor is the clearing of land for agricultural activities. Warmer temperatures lead to more evaporation and precipitation, bringing wetter days for some regions and dryer days for others. Warmer conditions will also affect the oceans, melting the glaciers and increasing the sea level. To give you more view of what climate change is, here are some of the situations we must take a look at.

Why we should care about climate change

The first evidence is quite possibly the most noticeable change we are experiencing, increase in global temperature. Since the late 19th century, the planet’s average surface temperature was recorded to have risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit. And in the preceding years, the five warmest years took place since 2010.

Secondly, oceans get warmer. We may not have noticed it, but a 700-meter part of the ocean has shown a warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. There is also the thinning of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctic. Between 1993 and 2016, it was reported that billion tons of ice per year have been lost and that has tripled in the last decade. High-temperature events have also been happening since 1950.

Ocean acidification has risen since the Industrial Revolution. An increase in human-produced carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased ocean acidity by about 30 percent. And as more emission of greenhouse gases take place, the ocean surface absorbs about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year.