Climate Change Effects or How It Affects You

Whether you realize it or not climate change has affected you!

While you may not feel like things have changed climate change evidence is all around and so are the effects of it.

While this article won’t examine the causes of climate change it will help you to see that evidence of climate change is all around.

  • Ice is melting all over our globe and fast (relatively). This includes not only ice at the North & South poles but also glacial ice found in mountainous areas.
  • Sea levels have risen and continue to rise more quickly.
  • Plant & animal species¬† have suffered and / or are having to migrate due to unfavorable climate for their specific species.
  • Rainfall (and snowfall) has increased on average globally with more rain happening in areas that typically get a lot of rain.
  • Hurricanes & Typhoons have increased and will increase in strength if not in number.
  • The temperature has risen approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit on average globally.

While the effects may not seem so much of a big deal and this is not some doom and gloom Armageddon message it is cause for much concern.

The delicate balance in areas that we live, work, and the areas that provide the raw materials that we consume (plant based matter for everything from food & clothing to building materials) is being affected and these resources can be impacted negatively.

An example might be the spruce bark beetles that have infested so much of Alaska’s Spruce that it has been called an outbreak by Alaska’s Division of Forestry.

On the dangers to food production the US EPA has this to say:

Agriculture is highly sensitive to climate variability and weather extremes, such as droughts, floods and severe storms. The forces that shape our climate are also critical to farm productivity. Human activity has already changed atmospheric characteristics such as temperature, rainfall, levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and ground level ozone. The scientific community expects such trends to continue. While food production may benefit from a warmer climate, the increased potential for droughts, floods and heat waves will pose challenges for farmers. Additionally, the enduring changes in climate, water supply and soil moisture could make it less feasible to continue crop production in certain regions.” (bold – ours)

Although this is not expected to affect most areas that produce food in the US in a negative way, many areas in developing natures will likely suffer and some indications of these effects have already been seen in certain regions.

For regions that are negatively impacted this can cause price increases for the crops effected with obvious ramifications for those most in need of these resources.

One of the other evidences of that change mentioned earlier was the rising sea levels which has caused significant troubles in many areas to coastal areas as can be seen in the below video.

 

 

In one way or another the effects of climate change is becoming more noticeable to every area of the globe and the increasing awareness of these issues should drive us to make a change.

Do your part in the effort to reverse the negative factors that are influencing the change in our Earth’s climate and use the “Universal Climate Logo” In your communications.

Causes of Climate Change

climate changes greenhouse effect

The Greenhouse Effect

The earth naturally has a layer of greenhouse gases which are important to maintaining the temperature of our earth and supporting life as we know it.

The main components of that “greenhouse” layer might actually be a bit of a surprise to you.

It is actually water vapor.

However the occurrence of water vapor in the atmosphere is viewed more as a changing variable that occurs in the atmosphere more in response to other more long lasting gases like carbon dioxide, methane, & nitrous oxide.

Most scientists agree that the activities that we partake in that contribute to the release of these gases is what has the largest effect on our changing climate.

The NASA website says:

Most scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect” — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.

The most significant changes to earth’s climate change have occurred since the start of the industrial revolution.

Some important gases that play a role in climate change are:

  • Water Vapor
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Methane
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Chlorofluorocarbons

Of the above gases human activities directly contribute to a large degree all but the water vapor which is called a “feedback” in the system or it could be said changes based on how much of the other fases are introduced.

Let’s first examine carbon dioxide.

While carbon dioxide is actually a minor component in the atmosphere it plays a major role.

While carbon dioxide is released through natural means like breathing and volcanic activity other human activity has made a much larger contribution to this greenhouse gas in our atmosphere.

Two of these contributing activities are the burning of fossil fuels (like coal & oil) & deforestation.

The next gas is Methane.

The NASA website has this to say:

A hydrocarbon gas produced both through natural sources and human activities, including the decomposition of wastes in landfills, agriculture, and especially rice cultivation, as well as ruminant digestion and manure management associated with domestic livestock. On a molecule-for-molecule basis, methane is a far more active greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but also one which is much less abundant in the atmosphere.

As you can see human activities are large contributors to the increase of this gas in our atmosphere.

Nitrous Oxide is primarily produced by such human activities as fossil fuel combustion, the use of chemicaland organic fertilizers,  nitric acid production, & biomass burning.

And the last greenhouse gas we will cover is Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

CFC’s are 100% synthetic compounds and 100% a product of modern industry. They are now largely regulated (internationally) due to their environmentally destructive nature and to their threat to our o-zone.

They are however still a greenhouse gas and pose a threat to our environment and to our climate.

As we learn more about the effects of these and other greenhouse gases we continue to learn more about their direct effects on our climate.

The next article will be on how climate change effects our planet.