Global Climate Change Research Papers Examples
Earth’s climate has undergone a lot of changes ever since it was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. It was hard to picture the condition of the planet during those millions of years ago, but we have an idea of what the Earth’s climate was like back then because of the clues that remained on rocks, fossils, trees etc. (EPA, 2015). According to National Geographic (2015), scientists were able to find chemical evidence of ice age from sediments and sedimentary rocks. The presence of rocks that formed from glacial material, in the ocean was also a clue that glaciers were once present in those areas. Paleontological evidences, in the form of fossils, also helped scientists to know the kinds of plants and animals that lived in certain areas. Most of the organisms that were adapted to warm weather became extinct during Ice Age. By studying the rings of trees that were more than 300 years old, scientists were able to learn about climate change that occur over short periods. The thickness of the tree rings were related to the tree’s annual growth. Tree rings that were close together indicate drought or cold, because trees couldn’t grow as much during those times.
Since 1900, the average surface air temperature of the Earth has increased by about 0.8 degrees Celsius. The last 30 years had been the warmest and was considered as the most rapid period of sustained temperature change in global history, reported by Hall (2014). Since the end of the last Ice Age, recent estimates of the increase of global temperature are about four to five degrees Celsius. It’s indeed much greater than the 0.8 degrees Celsius increase in the Earth’s average temperature over a hundred years ago, but this change occurred over a period of about 7000 years. The change in rate is now ten times faster. Over the last 650,000 years, the Earth’s temperature rose drastically due to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Several human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels, have increased carbon dioxide concentrations by 40% between 1880 and 2012. It is higher than at any time in at least 800,000 years (EPA, 2015).
A lot of people think that global warming is similar to climate change, but it is not. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they have different definitions. Global warming is a more specific term. According to NASA (nd), it is the increase of the Earth’s average surface temperature due to rising levels of greenhouse gases. Climate change, however, is a broader term. It is a long-term change in the Earth’s climate, or of a region on Earth. It refers to the changes, whether it is an increase or a decrease, in long-term weather patterns such as snowfall or rainfall (Climate Central, 2009).
Knowing the difference between the two commonly misused terms increases awareness. Some people want to emphasize the potentially serious consequences of the problem. Others want to convince everyone to think that it is not such a big deal, or that humans are not really causing the problem in the first place, so they choose one term or the other because they think it sounds more or less scary, Climate Central said. Since nobody can agree about which term actually is scarier, both groups use both terms at different times, confusing more and more people. It is important not to be swayed by what some people say, and instead, inform one’s self and be more aware of what is happening around us, in order to come up with a better decision if the need for it arises (SHARP, 2015).
Climate change is a huge environmental challenge that we are facing right now. Due to climate change, the Earth’s water systems are thrown off-balance. The intense air surface temperature of the Earth melts glaciers at an accelerated pace; this contributes to sea level rise. The increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the ocean triggers a chemistry change, making the water more acidic. The ocean is 40% more acidic than before. Climate change melts Arctic ice and causes new wind patterns that push freezing air and snow southwards, resulting to severe winters in the next few decades (NPS, 2015). The shift in water patterns also alters natural habitats. As the glaciers and polar ice sheets melt, ice-dependent animals struggle to survive. Without ice to rest on to, these animals were forced to swim a hundred more miles without rest, eventually leading to their deaths. Human lives are thrown out-balance, too. With the change in the temperature and climate, farmers struggle to keep up with the changing weather and unpredictable water supplies. Warmer temperature triggers a chemical reaction in the air and thus, causing a ground-level ozone called smog. Smog is dangerous to our health, especially to those who have asthma or weak lungs. Aside from this, the extreme summer heat can cause death during heat waves. According to climate scientists, more frequent and severe flooding, drought and extended heat waves are to be expected in the following years, due to climate change.
According to scientists, the temperature and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased and decreased in a cyclical pattern, over the past 650,000 years. The drastic change in the climate that occurred thousands or millions of years ago were not caused by humans, since early humans appeared over 100,000 years ago, so it might have caused by natural reasons such as solar changes and volcanic eruptions. However, though climate change has been happening even before the existence of humans, humans are speeding up the process and are acting as a catalyst to climate change. Human activities contribute to climate change by burning fossil fuels, using aerosol sprays and many others. These activities increase the amount of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, resulting to global warming (EPA, 2015; IPCC, 2007).
Several groups and organizations are promoting climate change and global warming awareness to the public. Also, they are sharing tips on how to fight global warming. Reducing energy use is the main solution that humanity has come up with. By conserving energy, less fossil fuels are necessary to burn. A decrease in fossil fuel burning would result in less heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. But, this kind of action only slows down climate change from happening. Climate change is a natural process; it cannot be stopped. Although it is impossible to stop climate change, we can still make a move to slow it down so that our generation, and the future generations to come won’t have to suffer.
Carrington, Damian. (2014). “Global warming has doubled risk of harsh winters in Eurasia, research finds.” The Guardian. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/26/global-warming-has-doubled-risk-harsh-winters-eurasia-research-finds
Climate Central. (2009). “What Is the Difference between Global Warming and Climate Change?” Retrieved from https://www.climatecentral.org/library/faqs/what_is_the_difference_between_global_warming_and_climate_change
Environment Defense Fund. (2015). “Climate Change Impacts.” Retrieved from http://www.edf.org/climate/climate-change-impacts
Environmental Protection Agency. (2014). “The Earth’s Climate in the Past.” Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/climatestudents/basics/past.html#container
Hall, Shannon (2014). “Climate Change is Now More Certain than Ever,” New Report Says. Retrieved from http://www.universetoday.com/109831/climate-change-is-now-more-certain-than-ever-new-report-says/
IPCC. (2007). “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.) (2007).
NASA. (nd).” What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs. Climate Change.” Retrieved from http://pmm.nasa.gov/education/articles/whats-name-global-warming-vs-climate-change
National Georaphic. (2015). “Climate Change.” Retrieved from http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/climate-change/?ar_a=1
National Park Service. (2015). “How Can We Have Harsh Winters and Global Warming At The Same Time?” Retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/articles/climatequestion06.htm
SHARP. (2015). “What Is the Difference between Global Warming and Climate Change.” Retrieved from http://www.sharpsolaracademy.com/Questions%20and%20Answers/Questions/What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Global%20Warming%20and%20Climate%20Change.aspx
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